By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE wasted an opportunity to clinch their five-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series after succumbing to a disappointing seven-wicket loss in the fourth encounter against Namibia in Windhoek on Sunday.
After recovering from a loss in the series opener to win the next two matches, Zimbabwe needed a victory in the fourth match to complete a series victory.
The Chevrons were however unable to get the job done as Namibia produced a commanding performance to level the series.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Zimbabwe posted a competitive total of 153 for six in their allotted 20 overs with captain Craig Ervine top-scoring with 54 from 43 deliveries.
Ervine, who initially got off to a slow start before finishing strongly, hit three fours and a six in his innings while he shared a crucial second-wicket partnership stand of 49 runs with Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, who chipped in with 32 runs from as many balls.
In reply Namibia got off to an impressive start with their openers, Michael van Lingen (47 off 27 balls) and Nikolaas Davin (34 from 25 deliveries), setting the foundation of a successful run chase with an aggressive assault during the powerplay, amassing 59 runs.
Throughout the chase, they maintained control, capitalizing on Zimbabwe’s lackluster bowling performance and subpar fielding, which featured several costly fumbles.
Leg spinner Ryan Burl briefly injected some tension into the game by claiming the wickets of both openers in a single over.
However, skipper Erasmus (31 off 28) and Frylinck (29 off 26) stepped up, steadying the ship and delivering crucial boundaries when required. Erasmus ultimately sealed the victory with eight balls to spare.
With the series now level, the stage is set for an exciting decider at the same venue on Monday.
Erasmus, who was also named the Player of the Match, said his team deserve to be level in the series.
“We deserve to be at 2-2, we’ve played a lot of good cricket. Bowlers put in a good shift today, and we could chase it down. Lots of positive takeaways today, our top order has consistently performed and bossed the power play. Getting some match-ups going was also really important for us,’ he said.
Zimbabwe skipper Ervine lamented his side’s failure to capitalise on their good start with the bat but said the series against Namibia has been a good platform to prepare for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier which will be held in the same country.
“After the start we got, we couldn’t capitalize. We had a good finish but felt 20-25 short,” Ervine said.
“It has been great preparation, got a feel for conditions. Lots of things we’ll take back from this tour. Need to pick ourselves up and do better tomorrow
Scores in Brief
Namibia 154/3 (18.4 overs)
Zimbabwe 153/6 (20 overs)
Namibia won by 7 wickets