Kolkata, March 20: In their final group match and indeed their last appearance of the World Cup 2011, Zimbabwe seemed determined to put on a good show against Kenya. Some solid partnerships helped the southern Africans reach a commanding total of 308/6 in 50 overs as the Kenyan bowling toiled for breakthroughs. The Zimbabwean middle order came to the fore with Tatenda Taibu (53), Visu Sibanda (61), Craig Ervine (66) and Elton Chigumbura (38) all pitching in with substantial knocks. Meanwhile Kenya' smost successful bowler was paceman Elijah Otieno who finished with figures of 2/61 off his 10 overs.
Zimbabwe got off to a decent enough start with Brendon Taylor taking on the role of aggressor. In the first 8 overs, he struck three fours of Peter Ongondo and two off Elijah Otieno while Regis Chakabva contributed one boundary as well. But the latter batsman was out of his depth and was caught behind off Odhiambo in the 9th over for 9 off 22 as the score read 32/1.
Then Taylor hit one more four off Otieno before he was snapped up at mid-on and was on his way for 26 off 36 balls, leaving Zimbabwe at a precarious 36/2. Tatenda Taibu warded off fears of any imminent damage when he took Zimbabwe over 50 with a four off Ongondo, before pressing on with Visu Sibanda.
Once settled, Sibanda's batting took on a forceful tone as he carted off-spinner Shem Ngoche away for two fours in the 21st over and two overs later, Taibu took Zimbabwe to over 100 with another boundary off Ngoche.
A short while later, Taibu went after off-break Steve Tikolo, smashing him for two fours and a six in the 28th over. Then Sibanda clobbered Odhiambo for two fours, before he was run out after a dreadful mix-up with Taibu.
Taibu however, kept up the momentum and was complemented in that endeavour with Craig Ervine who immediately smacked Ngoche for two forus in the 31st over as Zimbabwe moved past 150.
But soon afterward, the bowler wreaked revenge on Taibu, trapping him in front for 53 off 74 balls as Zimbabwe slipped to 165/4 in 32.4 overs. Ervine kept the impetus going, targeting his favourite victim Ngoche, by carting him away for two more fours in the 39th over.
Then captain Elton Chigumbura got into the act, smashing Tikolo for a four and in the next over, Odhiambo for a six as his side climbed past 200 in the 41st over. The batting duo continued to up the scoring rate, hitting Tikolo for a four and a six in the 43rd over, before Ervine dispatched Odhiambo to the boundary twice in the next.
Ervine then attacked Otieno, clobbering him for two fours in the 46th over, before Chigumbura lofted Ongondo for a six in the 47th. But the Kenyans pegged things back momentarily when Ongondo dismissed Chigumbura for 38 in the same over, before Otieno bowled Ervine for 66 in the next.
New batsman Prosper Utseya seemed to be in his power-hitting element, smoking three fours and a six off Otieno in the final over to remain not out on 19 off 6 balls while taking Zimbabwe to 308/6 in 50 overs.