Zimbabwe 133 for 5 (Ervine 57, Raza 40, Davey 2-16) beat Scotland 132 for 6 (Munsey 54, Chatara 2-14, Ngarava 2-28) with five wickets
Zimbabwe reacted nervously and was 7 for 2 and 42 for 3 before Ervine and Raza placed at 64 for the fourth wicket. Ervine dropped anchor and scored his sixth T20I-fifty, and his first at a World Cup, and by the time he was sacked in 17th Zimbabwe was within easy reach of a win.
When Scotland felt an opening as Ervine fell with 14 needed from the last three overs, Milton Shumba and Ryan Burl closed the door, flipped the strike quietly and completed the job in just nine balls. Burl skipped the winning runs in the 19th when he lofted Safyaan Sharif halfway for four
Winning by more than a surplus put Zimbabwe at the top of their group. They will join Group 2 in the Super12s, which will include their neighbors South Africa, India and Pakistan.
Hold with both hands
Zimbabwe’s fieldwork hasn’t always held up through pressures, but they were determined to cause it in this match. When Michael Jones cut the last ball of Chatara’s opening over cover, Raza ran back from the ring and took the catch over his shoulder as it tumbled onto the turf to give Zimbabwe their first incision. Three overs later, Matthew Cross pulled a short pass from Richard Ngarava towards Wessly Madhevere at midwicket. Madhevere had to launch himself to the left and took the catch in full flight to leave Scotland 24 for 2 in the fifth over.
Munsey strains it…
Scotland were held together by Munsey, who hit seven fours in the first 22 balls he faced with a series of blows around the wicket. Munsey brought out the flick and the pull, the cut and three beautiful drives from the Zimbabwean sailors. He punched over-deliveries from Blessing Muzarabani halfway through with force, then smoked Richard Ngarava past extra cover.
… but Zimbabwe keeps him quiet
After scoring 33 runs from his first 22 balls, Munsey scored just 21 runs on his next 29 as Zimbabwe’s bowlers squeezed through the middle overs and made it difficult for Scotland to clear them. Zimbabwe threw nine limitless overs as Raza used the variations he developed along with Sean Williams’ left arm spin and then Madhevere’s offspin. Chatara and Muzarabani, who were also used during that period, stuck to back-of-a-length balls that offered no opportunities for big hitting. Between the eighth and 16th overs, Scotland scored just 48 points.
Scotland makes the perfect start
With a small total to defend, Scotland couldn’t have asked for a better start, although Zimbabwe’s technique was responsible for their early losses. Regis Chakabva shuffled across and played the wrong line to Brad Wheal’s third delivery and was given lbw away. He looked at it, but tracking the ball showed that the impact was in line and the ball would have gone to clip the stirrups. In the next over, Madhevere got a juicy half volley, but he swung hard with no footwork and played on his own stumps. Zimbabwe was 7 for 2 in the second over.
The sixes of Sikandar
Scotland didn’t hit a single six in their innings, and there were none in the first 31.5 overs of the game before Raza, the man who seems to be able to do almost anything at the moment, sent MacLeod over the midwicket line and barely broke a sweat. Two overs later, he did it again when he sent Michael Leask across the covers. Before Raza’s first six, Zimbabwe needed 63 runs from 49 deliveries; after his second, 43 ran from 41 balls, which is how much his innings let the pressure of Zimbabwe’s effort evaporate.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South African correspondent