A BRILLIANT century from opening batsman Solomon Mire propelled the Zimbabwe Select XI to a huge 93-run victory over the touring Netherlands team at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The win was not as convincing as it could and should have been, though, as they were held up by a superb fighting century from the visiting captain, Peter Borren. The Zimbabwe Select XI was virtually the full national team. They won the toss on a warm, sunny morning with a pleasant breeze, and decided to bat. The visitors, playing as the Royal Netherlands Cricket Board XI, began the bowling with Vivian Kingma and Fred Klaassen, both of medium pace, against the opening pair of Hamilton Masakadza and Mire.
They bowled an accurate length just outside the off stump, and after two overs the only runs on the board were two wides, as the batsmen were content to watch the ball go by. Then a pull for four by Mire signalled a call to action and runs began to flow, with Masakadza hitting three fours in Kingma’s third over. Mire brought up the team fifty in the eighth over with a powerful pull for six off the new bowler, Quirijn Gunning, that went out of the ground next to the main scoreboard. With his score on 30, Mire skied a powerful drive to mid-on, but the fielder, running to his left, never looked like holding the chance.
The hundred came up in the 17th over, but at 102 Masakadza tried to copy Mire with a reverse sweep off Rippon, only to give a catch to point – he had scored 36 off 45 balls. Craig Ervine did not last long, scoring just five runs before he drove rather loosely at the medium-paced Borren and was caught in the covers; 109 for two after 18 overs. The scoring rate slowed down with Tarisai Musakanda in, and he struggled to get going; he made nine off 29 balls before, in desperation, he attempted a big hit and skied a catch to mid-on.
Sean Williams, however, was in blazing form from the start, and after facing four balls had scored 11 already, including a slog-sweep for six over mid-wicket off Rippon. Mire scored 128 off 107 balls, with 10 fours and seven sixes. Williams reached his fifty off just 41 balls, three fewer than Mire had taken for his half-century. The next game is on tomorrow.
Zimbabwe Select – 347-9 in 50 overs (Solomon Mire 128, Sean Williams 62, Sikandar Raza 36, Hamilton Masakadza 36; Fred Klaassen 3/80, Peter Borren 2/45, Michael Rippon 2/55) KNCB XI – 254 all out in 49.5 overs (Peter Borren 115, Sikander Zulfiqar 58; Hamilton Masakadza 3/21, Tendai Chatara 2/11, Richard Ngarava 2/28) Zimbabwe won by 93 runs – zimcricket.