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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zimbabwe creates history; beats Pakistan....

Do you remember or would you want to remember Test no. 1425 played at Harare Sports Club way back in Oct 1998….. !!  Soon Champions League T20 would start – crowds would fill the entire stadium, irrespective of astronomical price …… and debates would flow on whether Test cricket is no longer relevant…… in  a farther place, history was created and it reportedly was largely empty  that celebrated making it believe it was no longer a popular marketable game over there.  They say that ticket at US $2 is throwaway and further reduction only would mean throwing open the gates free, which itself may not be the worst idea !!!

Honestly, I have not heard of Tendai Lary Chatara, the right arm fast medium bowler nor of Brian Vitalis Vitori- a left arm bowler….today read that both took 5 wickets against Pak [not in the same innings] and were instrumental in the historic 24 run win in the Second Test at Harare.

It is the landlocked country in Southern Africa between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, formerly known as Southern Rhodesia (1923), Rhodesia (1965), and Zimbabwe Rhodesia (1979). The first recorded use of "Zimbabwe" as a term of national reference was in 1960, when it was coined by the black nationalist Michael Mawema.  Its Capital is Harare and de jure sovereignty from the United Kingdom in April 1980, following 14 years as an unrecognised state under the conservative white minority government of Rhodesia, which unilaterally declared independence in 1965. Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona and Ndebele being most common. The State is in turmoil and its economy is turbulent.

Cricket in Zimbabwe was a crisis that lasted mainly from 2003 to 2007 where player withdrawals such as the "Black-armband protest" by Andy Flower and Henry Olonga along with a mass loss of players in 2004 due to a general strike resulted in very poor performances by the national team. Many people allege that the administration of cricket in Zimbabwe is corrupted by the influence of Robert Mugabe's government, who are widely accused of following racist, in particular anti-white, policies. Economic crisis and dollarisation has taken the economy from difficult times to a new kind of security, which has still left many ordinary people struggling to keep up with increased prices. Matters ballooned before this series. Having not seen their July or August salaries, the players formed a union, for the first time in decade and threatened to boycott first the whole tour, then the third ODI, then the Tests, unless paid. Each time, they extended their deadline and eventually ZC showed them the money, at the expense of some staff. Still, they lost Kyle Jarvis to premature retirement and Graeme Cremer and Sean Williams, who did not want to play unless paid.  ~ and when money flows in IPL, players are involved in scandals, underperformacne and match-fixing..

Zimbabwe has won a Test …. And the historic win to level the series 1-1 made Pakistan drop from fourth to sixth place in the ICC Test rankings. Zimbabwe also returned to the rankings for the first time since May 2007 and are at ninth place, 24 rating points ahead of Bangladesh who are at the bottom of the table. The brief score card reads : Zimbabwe 294 (Masakadza 75, Taylor 51, Junaid 4-67) and 199 (Mawoyo 58, Rahat 5-52) beat Pakistan230 (Younis 77, Manzoor 51, Vitori 5-61) and 239 (Misbah 79*, Manzoor 54, Chatara 5-61) by 24 runs; Tendai Chatara was named man of the match for his five-wicket haul

The win would linger longer coming as it does after one and half a decade; the last time Zimbabwe won a Test against a team other than Bangladesh was in 2001, but they stayed patient through the final day even as Misbah-ul-Haq threatened to dash their hopes to win the second Test and square the two-match series. Zimbabwe began the day just five wickets away. Pakistan weren't too far either: they needed 106 with Misbah still around. It was finally a run out of Rahat ali that allowed the Zimbabwe team to erupt.  

Statistically, Zimbabwe's Test win against Pakistan, at Harare, was only their fifth against Test-playing nations excluding Bangladesh. Pakistan have been at the receiving end three times. India have lost two Tests against Zimbabwe. The last time Zimbabwe won a Test against a major Test-playing nation was in 2001, when they beat India by four wickets. This was their 11th win in Tests from 93 Tests; six of these wins have come against Bangladesh.

If you remember still the Q at top – Test at 1425 in Oct 1998 was the time when India led by Mohd Azharuddin with host of stars lost to Zimbabwe.  Robin Singh and Ajit Agarkar made their debuts in that match.  It was Zimbabwe’s second Test victory.  Nayan Mongia and Navjot Sidhu were the openers for India. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Sept. 2013.

Photo and some inputs courtesy  : cricinfo.com

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