UAE’s batsmen were stifled brilliantly by Zimbabwe’s bowlers, as the visitors succumbed to a crushing seven-wicket defeat in the first ODI at Harare.
Led by three wickets from Tendai Chatara, Zimbabwe bowled out UAE for 110 from 44.5 overs, before the hosts’ top order controlled the chase in relative comfort, as the batters reach their target from 23.1 overs.
Peter Moor won the toss and put UAE into bat, and from the get-go, Zimbabwe were in control of proceedings. The economical Kyle Jarvis removed Ashfaq Ahmed with the first ball of the third over, and after 10 overs, UAE were perilously positioned on 19/3.
Rohan Mustafa was at the crease for 45 balls but could only compile 10 before Sikandar Raza’s off-spin dismantled his stumps. The only bright spark for UAE came from Mohammad Boota’s 76-ball 36, which proved key in helping UAE get to three figures. While UAE skipper Mohammad Naveed – who played a key all-round role in his side’s win at the same venue in the Super Sixes stage of last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier – cleared the ropes off Brandon Mavuta, he was only able to add 9 to UAE’s total.
Chatara snagged figures of 3/25, and while Sean Williams was the only bowler not to have a wicket to his name, his three overs only conceded three runs in total.
Much of Zimbabwe’s innings was guided by a sturdy second-wicket partnership between Regis Chakabva and Craig Ervine. The pair made sure the presence of the injured Hamilton Masakadza and Brendon Taylor was not missed, as they put on 90, before Chakabva was bowled by Imran Haider.
Ervine – whose innings comprised of four fours and two sixes – passed fifty, but like Chakabva was unable to stick around for the winning moment, offering a catch to Muhammad Usman off the bowling of Mustafa to depart for 51.
It was a minor blip in the tale as Timycen Maruma hit the winning runs just two balls later to hand Zimbabwe the opening game of the four-match series.
The second ODI will take place on Friday, as UAE will look to bounce back in what is their first bilateral ODI series against a Test-playing nation.