BY Kevin Mapasure
Craig Ervine scored an unbeaten half century as hosts Zimbabwe won the first of five T-20 internationals against Namibia by seven runs at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo yesterday.
In a nervy finish, the tourists went into the last over, in with a chance to draw first blood, but Zimbabwe managed to cross the line, using their experience to good effect.
Zimbabwe had set their guests a target of 154 after winning the toss and asking Namibia to field first.
Openers Regis Chakabva (15) and Wessley Madhevere (23) put up a 34-run first wicket partnership which was broken by Bernard Scholtz, who bowled Chakabva.
Ten runs later, Madhevere followed him to the dug-out after Gerhard Erasmus, taking the catch, combined with Scholtz to reduce the hosts down to eight.
Ervine (55 not out) and Sikandar Raza (37) combined for a 71-run third wicket partnership which helped give Zimbabwe’s bowlers something to work with.
Skipper Ervine hit three boundaries and three maximums before he ran out of overs.
He faced 39 balls in his knock, where he also combined with Milton Shumba (4) and Ryan Burl (7 not out) as Zimbabwe finished on 153 for 4.
Namibia got off to a good start in their run chase, losing their first wicket in the tenth over, having put 67 runs on the board.
Divan la Cock scored a 43-ball 66, where he hit three fours and five maximums, with fellow opener Craig Williams weighing in with 25 runs.
For Zimbabwe, Tanaka Chivanga picked up two wickets on debut, the same number as Brandon Mavuta while Tendai Chatara had one scalp.
The two teams square off for the second match at the same venue tomorrow, with Namibia seeking to level matters while the hosts will be thinking about consolidating their lead.
Zimbabwe: Regis Chakabva, Wesseley Madhevere, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Brandon Mavuta, Donald Tiripano, Tendayi Chatara, Tanaka Chivanga
Namibia: Craig Williams, Divan la Cock, Gerhard Erasmus, Jan Nicole Loftie-Eaton, Zane Green, David Wiese, Ruben Trumpelmann, Jan Frylinck, Pikky ya France, Bernard Scholtz, Tangeni Lingameni
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