Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE cricket captain Graeme Cremer says they are not blaming anyone but themselves after losing the opening match of their One Day International series against Afghanistan by 12 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The home side’s batting at the top let them down after rains interrupted play and left the pitch unplayable.
The Chevrons were chasing a revised target of 206 after the match was reduced to 46 overs because of the delays caused by a late afternoon shower.
But, as fate would have it, the match could not resume because there were bad patches around the wicket that made the game unplayable.
All along, Zimbabwe had a slight upper hand under the Duckworth/ Lewis method, but then things took a dramatic twist when they lost the wicket of debutant Ryan Burl just before the match was stopped.
Cremer, who had led from the front in the field when Zimbabwe restricted the Afghans to 215 runs in 49.2 overs, was naturally disappointed to lose to the Associate Member again.
“(I am) very disappointed, actually. I thought we did that first half well, you know, those 50 overs of bowling was good effort to restrict them to 215 and then really we should not have been in that position of losing in the end.
“I am sure if they had got 270 or 280 maybe, but not 215.
“We lost too many soft wickets upfront . . . When the rains started coming we were ahead by one run and then it was unfortunate we lost a wicket that over.
“But as I said, we can’t blame the weather or anything because we should never have been in that position. Four wickets down on a wicket like that, only chasing 215.
“Probably we should have been maybe two wickets down. So I am not upset with the weather, it’s the way we went about it,” said Cremer.
Afghanistan now lead the series 1-0, with the next match scheduled for Sunday at the same venue.
The threat of rains had always been lingering because of the overcast conditions.
But Zimbabwe could not start with the kind of tempo they would have wanted after Afghanistan opted to open with the spin bowling pair of Mohammad Nabi an Amir Hamza.
The tourists succeeded in stalling Zimbabwe’s take off and were also rewarded with two early wickets after openers Solomon Mire and PJ Moor left the hosts shaken with 21 runs on the board after just over five overs.
Mire (2) was trapped lbw by Hamza while PJ Moor (18) was unsuccessful when he tried to clear the boundary off the bowling of Nabi.
By the time the rains stopped play, the Chevrons were battling on 99/ 4 after 27.2 overs.
Craig Ervine, 38 not out, was leading Zimbabwe’s fightback when nature intervened.
Zimbabwe had given ODI debut to fast bowler Richard Ngarava and Burl.
Ngarava opened the attack with Tendai Chatara and the 19-year-old made a promising start to his career when he claimed Zimbabwe’s first wicket after forcing a top edge from Mohammad Shahzad, caught by Christopher Mpofu.
But that was to be his only wicket for the day.
Cremer had the best figures for Zimbabwe, with 3 wickets for 46 runs, while there were two wickets apiece for Tendai Chatara and Chris Mpofu.
Afghanistan won the toss and decided to bat.