Flower starts in Zimbabwe win
Zimbabwe veteran Grant Flower's unbeaten 96 led the Africans to an improbable four wicket victory against England in the opening triangular series one-day international at Trent Bridge on Thursday.india Updated: Jun 27, 2003 01:00 IST
Zimbabwe veteran Grant Flower's unbeaten 96 led the Africans to an improbable four wicket victory against England in the opening triangular series one-day international at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
Chasing a modest 192 for victory, Zimbabwe slumped to 15 for four inside 10 overs.
It seemed as if Heath Streak's men, thrashed by an innings in both Tests against England and beaten by minnows Ireland in a one-day warm-up match, were about to suffer another convincing defeat.
But a stand of 96 in 131 balls between Flower, 32, playing in his 204th one-day international and 20-year-old Stuart Matsikenyeri, in only his fourth, turned the match around.
Matsikenyeri, whose previous best one-day international score was one not out, made 44 as England, resting in-form fast bowler James Anderson, lost control.
Flower, who hit the winning boundary, batted for 151 balls including 10 fours.
Sean Ervine was 26 not out off 25 balls, the pair sharing an unbroken stand of 52 in 47 balls as Zimbabwe won with two overs to spare.
It was Zimbabwe's first one-day international win over England since their five-wicket victory at The Oval in July 8, 2000.
Zimbabwe had restricted England to 191 for eight from 50 overs after winning the toss. Only Andrew Flintoff (53) and Marcus Trescothick (38) got past thirty.
Zimbabwe captain and fast bowler Streak led a tight attack with two for 30. But Zimbabwe's top order collapsed and had England not dropped four catches, with the diminutive Matsikenyeri put down twice, it might have been a different story.
Earlier England one-day debutant Richard Johnson, who took six wickets on his Test bow against Zimbabwe earlier this month, struck with his second ball to have Dion Ebrahim (one) edging to Andrew Flintoff in the slips.
Then veteran fast bowler Darren Gough dismissed Douglas Marillier for nought, Rikki Clarke taking a low catch in the gully.
And when Johnson, who missed England's 2-1 one-day series win over Pakistan with a knee injury, had wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu caught for four by Vikram Solanki at point Zimbabwe were 15 for four.
However, Matsikenyeri defied Johnson with two well-struck fours.
Flower too weighed in, driving Flintoff and sweeping left-arm spinner Ashley Giles for boundaries.
Matsikenyeri, on 31, was dropped by Trescothick at long-on off medium-pacer Anthony McGrath's second ball.
Undaunted, four balls later Matsikenyeri straight drove McGrath for six.
And Matsikenyeri was dropped again, by a diving Flintoff at slip on 43, off Johnson's first ball back.
However, one run later Matsikenyeri's luck ran out when he drilled Johnson straight to Clarke at mid-off. He faced 55 balls including one six and three fours, Zimbabwe now well-placed at 111 for five in the 32nd over.
South Africa make their triangular series debut, against England, at The Oval on Saturday.
England: Michael Vaughan (captain), Marcus Trescothick, Vikram Solanki, Andrew Flintoff, Anthony McGrath, Rikki Clarke, Chris Read, Ashley Giles, Darren Gough, Robert Key, Richard Johnson.
Zimbabwe: Heath Streak (captain), Tatenda Taibu, Dion Ebrahim, Grant Flower, Sean Ervine, Travis Friend, Andy Blignaut, Ray Price, Douglas Marillier, Gary Brent, Stuart Matsikenyeri.
Umpires: Simon Taufel, Australia, and Peter Willey, England.
Television umpire: Neil Mallender.
Match referee: Clive Lloyd, West Indies.