Nagpur, Feb 28: In the 12th match of the World Cup 2011, Zimbabwe overcame a shaky start against Canada as well as a flurry of wickets towards the end of their innings to post a competitive total of 298/9. Tatenta Taibu (98) and Craig Ervine (85) did a creditable job at stabilising and reviving the innings, before the latter order came to the fore with brief but valuable innings.
In a dramatic beginning to Zimbabwe's innings, Canadian fast bowler Khurram Chohan trapped an unsuspecting Brendon Taylor in front for a duck first ball. His opening partner Charles Coventry, was the next to go, when he was lbw to Harvir Baidwan for 4 off 10 balls. The Africans were in trouble at 7/2 in 3.3 overs. But new batsman Craig Ervine was quick to counter-attack, smacking the bowler for a four in the same over.
Then in the 8th over, one-down bat Tantenda Taibu got into the act, smacking Jimmy Hansra for two boundaries as Zimbabwe moved to 33/3 in 8 overs. Just two overs later, Taibu again attacked Hansra, taking two more fours off him, beforer Taibu clobbered Chohan for another four to bring up his side's 50 in the 11th over.
Then seamer Rizwan Cheema was the next to fall victim to Taibu's onslaught, also going for a couple of fours in the 15th over. Ervine helped Zimbabwe cross 100 with a four off spinner Balaji Rao in the 20th over. A boundary or a six was coming off virtually every over and in the 26th, the batting duo each knocked a four off Hansra to take their side past 150.
But a short while later, there was finally some respite for the Canadians as Balaji Rao had Ervine caught behind for 85 off 81 balls. However, Zimbabwe were still in a strong position at 188/3 in 31.2 overs. Then captain Elton Chigumbura struck a four before he was foxed by Rizwan Cheema for 5 off 8 balls. That dismissal triggered a protracted middle-order collapse for Zimbabwe as the side lost Taibu (98), Lamb (11) and Williams (30) for 39 runs.
Zimbabwe were in a spot of bother at 240/7 in 41.4 overs. But then Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer launched a recovery of sorts, before Chohan removed the former batsman for 22 runs with the score at 281/8. Baidwan got his second wicket when he bowled Cremer for 26 and Zimbabwe were 285/9 in 48.3 overs. Then some power-hitting from Ray Price took the Africans to a total of 298/9 in their 50 overs [scorecard].