Zimbabwe too good in World T20 opener

08 March 2016

Hong Kong fall short in Ryan Campbell's debut as Zimbabwe move step closer to Super 10s

ICC World T20 - Men,


The match in a tweet: Zimbabwe spoil 'Aussie' Campbell's debut! Hong Kong fall short in Group B clash as World T20 gets underway in Nagpur

The turning point: Zimbabwe were heading towards a sub-par total when they were reduced to 7-127 at the start of the 18th over, but a standout performance from Elton Chigumbura propelled them to a score that would always be competitive on a slow surface. The right-hander was the only batsman in the match who swung through the line with any confidence, hitting Aizaz Khan for two consecutive sixes down the ground in the 19th over and then repeating the dose off the bowling of Haseeb Amjad in the final over, finishing unbeaten on 30 from just 13 balls. In a match where only five batsman finished with a strike rate of more than 130, it was a match-turning effort that gave Zimbabwe all the momentum heading into the run chase.

The run out: The first wicket of the 2016 ICC World T20 was far from straight forward, with Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza run out after a lazy piece of running in the third over. Having got going with a brilliant six over fine leg in the previous over, Masakadza set off for an easy single and appeared to easily make his ground despite Babar Hyatt hitting the stumps with a direct hit. But Umpire Aleem Dar called for a second opinion and it was lucky he did - replays showed the skipper hadn't slid his bat and his feet were in the air when the stumps were broken.

WATCH: The unusual first wicket of the World T20

Quick Single: Full squads for the ICC World T20

The hero: As Zimbabwe collapsed to 4-62 in the eighth over, their cause not helped by two crazy run outs, they were in desperate need of a rescue mission. Enter opener Vusi Sibanda, who had watched the wickets tumble at the other end and combined with Malcolm Waller (26 from 29 balls) in a partnership that steadied the innings and laid the foundation some late hitting from Chigumbura. Sibanda finished with 59 from 46 balls, including five fours and two sixes, in a crucial contribution on a slow surface.

The support cast: It was a team effort from Zimbabwe with the ball, who choked the Hong Kong batsmen from the very first over to ensure they were behind the required rate from the start. Despite picking up just a handful of wickets, they ensured the required rate to ballooned beyond 13 an over so even when Hong Kong hit out late on, they simply had too much to do. Opener Tinashe Panyangara impressed while Tendai Chatara (2-28) and Donald Tiripano (2-23) held their nerve in the final overs.

The consolation effort: Opener Jamie Atkinson played a lone hand for Hong Kong, overcoming a slow start to finish with 53 from 44 balls but his dismissal seemingly ended any chance the underdogs had of winning the match. Opening bowler Tanwir Afzal also impressed in taking 2-19 from four overs, but Zimbabwe simply outclassed their less experienced opponents.

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Quick Single: World T20, Guide to Group B

The debutant: More than 14 years since Ryan Campbell made his one-day international debut for Australia, he celebrated another debut - this time in T20 international cricket in the black of Hong Kong. The former-wicketkeeper batsman, who was ahead of his time in terms of innovative stroke play, remains a destructive force at the top of the order but simply couldn't get going in this one, out for 9 off 19 balls. A nice bit of symmetry about Campbell's return to international cricket is the man he made his ODI debut alongside in Sydney all those years ago - the recently retired New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.

What it all means: The perfect start for Group B favourites Zimbabwe, who will take on Scotland on Thursday ahead of what could be a decisive clash against Afghanistan on Saturday. For Hong Kong, they will take on the Afghans on Thursday knowing that another loss would end their slim hopes of qualifying for the Super 10s.

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