ZIMBABWE national cricket team skipper Graeme Cremer has lavished with 21-year-old rookie Blessing Muzarabani following his scintillating bowling display against Afghanistan on Tuesday which helped the International Cricket Council World Cup qualifier hosts clinch a 2 run win in a match played at Queens Sports Club here.
Muzarabani who was playing only his ninth One Day International, produced career best figures of 4 for 47, taking crucial wickets that set Zimbabwe on the path for a win as they defended a below par score of 196.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE IN BULAWAYO
After Brian Vitori and Tendai Chatara had taken the first two wickets, Muzarabani further reduced Afghanistan to 58 for 8.
He returned to break the fourth wicket partnership that had put on 98 runs by removing Nasir Jamal before Sikandar Raza took three wickets in one over.
The 2m-tall Muzarabani returned to take out Najibullah Zadran (4) and then Mujeeb Ur Rahman (3).
His captain described him as a big asset for Zimbabwe with a bright future.
“Muzarabani is just an awesome guy, he is still raw and the way he bowled was just magnificent. He took crucial wickets and he really played a big part in the win against Afghanistan. What I like about him is that he listens to what he is told and is always willing to learn. He is a big asset and with his height he is a good addition to the team. He certainly has got a bright future ahead of him.”
Cremer also praised left arm seamer Vitori who recovered from a bad performance in the match against Nepal to produce a top class bowling display that also helped Zimbabwe win the match.
“Its a really difficult to bowl on for the seamers but they did very well. Vitori said to me that he was feeling a bit of pressure and for him to bowl the way he did it was wonderful and his confidence an only improve after this.”
Zimbabwe play Hong Kong next on Saturday before their last Group B match against Scotland at the Bulawayo Athletic Club on Monday.
If they finish in the top two they will play all of their Super Sixes matches in Harare. Out of the 10 nations participating in this tournament, only two will make it to the finals in England and Wales next year.
Zimbabwe put themselves in a strong position to qualify with the win over Afghanistan, having collected four points. They are looking for a perfect record in their group considering that points earned against teams that qualify to the next stage will count in the Super Six.
This means that if Zimbabwe qualify together with Scotland and Afghanistan having beaten both of them in the Group, they will arrive in the Super Six with four points in the bag.
Which makes beating Scotland who look likely to tag along with Zimbabwe in the final stage, the more important.
Raza, who as man of the match against Afghanistan, said that the team would not let off in the next two matches.
“Nothing is done yet. We have won two matches, but we are not letting off. We will keep our concentration levels high because we want a perfect record in the Group because our target is to finish at the top.”