HOBART: Half-century by Craig Ervine and a blistering 40-run cameo by Sikandar Raza helped Zimbabwe defeat Scotland by five-wicket to book their place in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup here at Bellerive Oval on Friday.
Zimbabwe have qualified for the Super 12 stage for the first time in the history of the tournament. Chasing a paltry target of 133 runs, Zimbabwe got off to the worst start as they lost their opener Regis Chakabva in the very first over of the match.
In the very next over Scotland gave another blow to Zimbabwe as Josh Davey dismissed Wesley Madhevere for zero runs. Captain Craig Ervine and Sean Williams tried to play some big shots to ease some pressure from the team and took the team's total beyond 40 runs in under 8 overs.
However, Zimbabwe's momentum was broken as Williams was dismissed by Michael Leask after scoring 7 runs in 12 deliveries. Williams' wicket invited the star batter of the team, Sikandar Raza, to the crease. After 10 over Zimbabwe needed 78 runs.
Raza shifted gears and slammed boundaries at regular intervals to keep the momentum in his team's favour. In the 14th over of the innings, Raza hammered Michael Leask for 13 runs and took the winnings equation down to 37 runs in 35 balls.
Craig Ervine brought up his much-needed half-century in 48 deliveries. Raza's blistering stint on the crease came to an end as Josh Davey delivered a stunning bowl to dismiss the Zimbabwe batters for 40 of 23.
Scotland gave Zimbabwe a big blow as Mark Watt bagged the crucial wicket of well-set batter Ervine for 58 off 54, giving a twist to the game. Ryan Burl then came to the crease. Zimbabwe needed 6 runs in the last two overs to book their place in the Super 12 stage.
In the 18th over of the innings, Milton Shumba and Burl took two singles and on the third delivery of the over Burl slammed a beautiful four to take his team to the Super 12 stage with a 5-wicket win over Scotland. Earlier, the Zimbabwe bowlers produced a thoroughly experienced performance in the last group stage encounter of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Hobart on Friday as they restricted Scotland to a paltry total of 132/6.
Richie Berrington's decision to bat first after winning the toss didn't turn out well for Scotland as they lost the wickets of Michael Jones and Matthew Cross quite early in the innings.
The likes of George Munsey, Berrington and Calum MacLeod attempted their best to restore the innings but they never got the speed and acceleration they required. Munsey and Berrington put on a 40-run partnership stand between themselves followed by a 34-run stand between MacLeod and Munsey.
But the partnerships didn't come at a swift scoring rate. Brief score: Scotland 132/6 (George Munsey 54, Calum MacLeod 25; Tendai Chatara 2-14) vs Zimbabwe 133/5 (Craig Ervine 58, Sikandar Raza 40; Josh Davey 2-16).