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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Nostalgia: Zimbabwean Cricket

While browsing through Cricinfo, I was made to recollect that it was this day 8 years ago, that I became a full-fledged fan of Zimbabwean Cricket. Although I had a soft corner for Zimbabwean cricket earlier, and watched their matches very often, what I saw on 23rd September 2000, made my heart go out for them.

As I watched the 5th and final day's play of the Harare test between Zimbabwe and New Zealand, Guy James Whittall, embarked on a once in a lifetime innings that would have ended up as one of the most celebrated match saving knocks in the history of the game. But, luck, of course, had other ideas. Whittall's painstaking, resolute and near-perfect knock of 188*, while facing 429 deliveries in a stay of 506 minutes, could not save Zimbabwe from a "race-against-time" defeat. Heath Streak gave great support for a long while, curbing his natural instincts of going after the bowling, and batting for nearly 6 hours for his 54 (you won't believe it if I say that I watched almost every ball of this painstaking partnership between Whittall and Streak! But it is true...). But once Streak was out, the lower order collapsed and Whittall got almost no support from the other end. But with 9 wickets down and Mbangwa at the crease as no. 11, he was not giving up. More frustration followed for NZ, as Whittall inched closer to what would have been one of the most well-deserved double hundreds ever, and a fitting draw for Zim, which had looked highly unlikely, just hours ago.

Then, this happened:

M Mbangwa run out (Nash) 5 (21)

Well, everything looks black and white in the scoreboard, and I still clearly remember the visuals of how this run out happened, and surely, don't want to go into the details of this. How Dion Nash affected that run out was extremely disappointing.

With that, NZ had a chance to press for victory, which they did. They might have won the game, but no prizes for guessing who won my heart.




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