Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
ELTON Chigumbura played a captain’s innings with an unbeaten century but it was all in vain as Zimbabwe lost to India by four runs in a thrilling One Day International at Harare Sports Club yesterday that went all the way to the last ball.
Winning the toss and electing to field, Zimbabwe needed six off the last ball, chasing a target of 255-6, but good death bowling by the visitors proved the difference and Chigumbura could not carry his men home despite backing himself to do so.
It was his second successive ODI hundred, after having scored one in Pakistan, before being suspended for the next two games.
If there have been doubts about whether he is back in form, with the bat, Chigumbura has dismissed that in an emphatic fashion and, yesterday, he came very close to taking his team to a win that would have sent Harare Sports Club exploding with joy.
Instead, Chigumbura was caught in between celebrating his ODI century and Zimbabwe losing, having put up a good show for his country and led the fans to believe that they could overhaul India’s tally.
His 100 came of 96 deliveries with eight fours and a six and it was his seventh wicket partnership with Graeme Creamer that breathed life into the Zimbabwe side, the specialist bowler playing a good supportive role.
But when Creamer went, it became a tight affair and it was left to Chigumbura to deliver his men home with 10 needed off the last six balls.
However, given that his other partner was Donald Tiripano, the skipper knew that everything rested on him getting the team over the line and, ultimately, he failed.
Needing six runs off the last three deliveries, Chigumbura feels Zimbabwe lost because he was waiting for a bad ball but Kumar bowled well although a yoker should have been put away by the hard-hitting host skipper.
“I wanted to keep strike in the last over but Kumar bowled well, I was really waiting for a bad ball but I did not get it because he bowled tight and so hard. It seemed we were so close but we did not go over the line,” said Chigumbura.
“We did not get the momentum we needed, we lost a number of wickets early and we had to keep rebuilding each time we lost a wicket so I ended up batting with a specialist bowler (Creamer) as there were no more specialist batsmen.
“I was so delighted to get my second century especially that I got it at number four because for the greater part of my career I have been batting at seven so it was a good challenge for me and I hope to maintain the momentum.
“But the team comes first, I am happy of my performance but being part of a losing side is obviously disappointing.”
India really got their game going in the last 10 overs of their innings when they managed 90 runs.
Man-of-the-match Rayudu said it was tough in the morning.
“It was very tough to bat in the morning. Me and Ajju were batting well until he got out. I am happy that I took the responsibility today.
“I was just telling Binny to hold back a bit till the 42nd over as he couldn’t afford to lose wickets then. Contributing to the team is more important,’ he said.
The next ODI is tomorrow and a huge crowd is expected after the fireworks of the first game.
Rahane* c Masakadza b Tiripano 34
Vijay c Sibanda b Vitori 1
Rayudu not out 124
Tiwary lbw b Chibhabha 2
Uthappa† run out (Sikandar Raza) 0
Jadhav c †Mutumbami b Chibhabha 5
Binny c †Mutumbami b Tiripano 77
Patel not out 2
Extras (lb 2, w 8) 10
Total (6 wickets; 50 overs) 255
Did not bat: Harbhajan Singh, B Kumar, DS Kulkarni
F-o-W: 1-9 (Vijay, 3.2 ov), 2-60 (Rahane, 17.2 ov), 3-74 (Tiwary, 20.4 ov), 4-77 (Uthappa, 21.3 ov), 5-87 (Jadhav, 24.2 ov), 6-247 (Binny, 48.5 ov)
Bowling: Panyangara 9.2-1-53-0; Vitori 9-0-63-1 (1w);Tiripano 8.4-1-48-2 (1w);Chibhabha 10-2-25-2(2w);Cremer 10-0-47-0; Williams 3-0-17-0;
Sibanda c Harbhajan Singh b Binny 20
Chibhabha c Rahane b Kumar 3
H Masakadza c Tiwary b Patel 34
Chigumbura not out 104
Williams b Patel 0
Sikandar Raza c Kumar b Harbhajan Singh 37
Williams b Patel 0
Sikandar Raza c Patel b Harbhajan Singh 37
Mutumbami† c Harbhajan Singh b Binny 7
Cremer c Binny b Kulkarni 27
Tiripano not out 1
Extras (b 8, lb 1, w 9) 18
Total (7 wickets; 50 overs; 210 mins) 251 (5.02 runs per over)
Did not bat: BV Vitori, T Panyangara
Fall of wickets 1-16 (Chibhabha, 4.5 ov), 2-47 (Sibanda, 12.2 ov), 3-89 (Masakadza, 22.6 ov), 4-94 (Williams, 24.2 ov), 5-142 (Sikandar Raza, 32.5 ov), 6-160 (Mutumbami, 37.4 ov), 7-246 (Cremer, 48.6 ov)
Bowling: Kumar 10-1-35-1 (1w)
Harbhajan Singh 0-0-46-1(1w);