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England survive scare to beat Zimbabwe

England eased to a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe on Sunday to book a place in the triangular one-day final against South Africa.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2003 20:20 IST

All-rounder Andrew Flintoff steered England to a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe here on Sunday that booked England's place in the triangular one-day series final against South Africa.

Flintoff, who took three for 13 with his lively pace bowling as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 92, then made an unbeaten 47 after England had collapsed to 25 for four.

Darren Gough took four for 32 as Zimbabwe, after losing the toss, were bowled out for their lowest one-day international score against England.

It was the first time England had bowled out a side for under 100 in a one-day international since they dismissed Pakistan for 74 at Adelaide during the 1992 World Cup.

But Zimbabwe captain and fast bowler Heath Streak then took four wickets for no runs in 16 balls on a lively Nevil Road pitch.

He finished with four for 21 from nine overs.

However, Flintoff ended the match in style with a six off the lively Andy Blignaut, whose 5.5 overs cost 56 runs, as England won with over 32 overs to spare.

Flintoff faced 37 balls including two sixes and 11 fours. England captain Michael Vaughan was 11 not out.

England will now play South Africa at Lord's on Saturday for the trophy after Zimbabwe failed to gain the bonus point they needed to stay alive in the tournament.

Only Stuart Matsikenyeri (26) and Blignaut (17), whose eighth wicket stand of 33 in 33 balls took Zimbabwe close to breaking 100, made it into double figures for the Africans with 24 of their runs coming in extras.

In reply, England were rocked by Streak's blistering burst.

He first had left-handed opener Marcus Trescothick (eight) caught low down in the slips by Travis Friend.

England then sent in hard-hitting tailender Richard Johnson. But he went for nought, skying Streak to one-day international debutant Charles Coventry at cover.

And 20 for two became 22 for three when Vikram Solanki (seven) edged Streak through to wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu.

Anthony McGrath (one) fell next to the former Hampshire quick, well caught in the slips by Grant Flower.

But Flintoff took the game away from Zimbabwe in the 14th over. He straight drove pace bowler Blignaut for consecutive fours and also pulled a no-ball for six, Coventry dropping the 'catch' before the ball crossed the rope.

Flintoff then drove another four, 21 runs in all coming off the over to leave England 60 for four.

Earlier Zimbabwe's first three wickets went in eight balls before senior players Flower (one) and Streak (five) both fell to the combination of Gough and wicket-keeper Chris Read, who took four catches, as the Africans slumped to 45 for six.

Matsikenyeri then defied England before he was bowled by Flintoff, having faced 35 balls including two fours.

Ahead of the final, England face South Africa in the next triangular match, a day/night fixture at Edgbaston on Tuesday. Zimbabwe conclude their series against South Africa at The Rose Bowl on Thursday.

Scorecard

NatWestSeries

First Published: Jul 06, 2003 15:15 IST