A SUPERB century by Sean Williams, followed by four wickets from Graeme Cremer, were the leading performances as Zimbabwe A completed a comfortable victory over Canada by 78 runs at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Zimbabwe A brought in the national captain Cremer and Donald Tiripano to replace Nathan Waller and Chris Mpofu.
Canada were depleted as they lacked their best batsman, the injured 17-year-old Bhavindu Adhihetty, and their best bowler of the first match, Satsimranjit Dhindsa, who was strangely being rested and was to be sorely missed.
It was again a bright sunny morning as Zimbabwe A won the toss this time and decided to bat first on a pitch that was in good condition, but took some turn.
Solomon Mire and Chamu Chibhabha again opened the Zimbabwe A batting, to the bowling of Mark Montfort and the leg-spinner Junaid Siddiqui. Williams was the star of the show. A pull for four by Williams off Nikhil Dutta brought up the hundred in the 22nd over.
The pace increased again as Sikandar Raza hammered Rizwan Cheema for three powerful fours off successive balls. Zafar was the best of the Canadian bowlers, with two for 39, but he only bowled eight overs.
Montfort took two wickets, but they cost him 66 runs in nine overs.
When Canada batted, Tendai Chatara and Tiripano opened the bowling to Srimantha Wijeratne and Soraine. The batsmen were adept at picking up ones and twos, though obviously they would be aware that much more than that would be needed for victory.
The bowlers were unable to trouble them unduly, but the first wicket fell in the ninth over at 31, when Wijeratne (15) slashed a ball from Chatara high over the slips, but straight to the fielder at third man.
With Navneet Dhaliwal in, the batsmen began to look more actively for quick runs against bowling that was not as consistently accurate as was desirable, while Chatara overdid the bouncer.
Wellington Masakadza was bowling well and finding some turn, and he had his reward when he trapped Soraine lbw for 19; 53 for two in the 14th over.
Dhanuka Pathirana (23) put on a useful partnership of 39 with Dhaliwal and then was caught in the deep off the bowling of Cremer; 92 for three in the 23rd over, with the required run rate rising slowly, but surely to seven an over.
Dutta came in next, but scored only three before being trapped lbw to Cremer at 98 for four.
Dhaliwal, trying to increase the run rate, was next to go, like Pathirana caught in the deep off Cremer, for 39, at 127, and four runs later Zafar went for 18, top-edging a sweep to fine leg.
The score was now 131 for five in the 32nd over and the required run rate well over eight.
Cheema boldly hit Cremer for four, but then a quicker ball breached his defences and bowled him out at 135 for seven. With the required rate now rising to more than 10, Hamza Tariq and Varun Sehdev began to hit out with probably a mixture of boldness and desperation.
Tariq, in particular, hit Raza for six and four off successive balls and then facing Masakadza, hit two sixes and a four in three balls.
He raced to 35 off 21 balls before another big hit, off Mire, ended up in the hands of long-on; 192 for eight in the 42nd over. Montfort made one before he had his stumps scattered by a yorker from Chatara, but the last pair of Sehdev and Siddiqui took the score past 200.
Cremer, with four for 27 from the middle order was the most successful bowler. The final match of the series takes place at Harare Sports Club today.
Zimbabwe A : 285-5 in 50 overs (Sean Williams 114*, Sikandar Raza 47, Chamu Chibhabha 35; Saad Bin Zafar 2/39, Mark Montfort 2/66)
Canada: 207 all out in 45.1 overs (Navneet Dhaliwal 39, Hamza Tariq 35, Varun Sehdev 30; Graeme Cremer 4/27, Tendai Chatara 2/43)
Zimbabwe A won by 78 runs. — zimcricket