from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – THE resumption of international cricket has presented Zimbabwe a glorious opportunity to market itself to the international community.
The government could not have asked for a better platform to promote the country, with the Chevrons securing thrilling super-over victory away to Pakistan in the third and final one day international (ODI) in Rawalpindi.
After the win, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was among the first to congratulate the cricket national team.
“Congratulations to @ZimCricketv for a fantastic win this evening (Tuesday)! You have made your country proud,” he tweeted to his more than 614 200 followers.
Zimbabweans responded alike.
Charlene Shumba tweeted in Shona: “Vadadisa vakomana,” which translates as saying: “The boys have made the nation proud.”
One Mulakazuva praised the head of state: “You inspired them (cricketers) Mr President after this encounter.”
The match in Pakistan came a few weeks after Mnangagwa’s government launched a campaign spearheaded by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) to market the country as a tourism destination.
The partnership is with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA). National teams spot ‘Visit Zimbabwe’ branding on the sleeve.
Lloyd Maswera tweeted: “Well done lads, you made us proud! Cricket brings nation together.”
Some prominent Pakistanis also lauded the Zimbabweans’ performance.
Among them are Ambassador Dr Muhammad Shahid Amin Khan, the fourth world chairman of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
“Congrats Mr. President (Mnangwagwa), as host country we people of Pakistan enjoys good cricket and happy that Zimbabwe team played well,” he stated.
On the field, earlier the Asian host nation had taken an unassailable 2-0 series lead into the final encounter but the magical performance by Zimbabwe ensured the Southern Africans gave respectability to the outcome.
They found themselves in early trouble after captain Chamu Chibhabha won the toss and elected to bat first – only for Zimbabwe to slump to 22-3.
Brendon Taylor and Sean Williams managed to steady the innings once again with the former surpassing the 50-run mark for the second time in the series.
He would eventually depart for 58 before Williams went on to bring up a famous and brilliant century, which provided Zimbabwe with a good platform as they posted 278-6 in their 50 overs.
In reply, Pakistan got off to a similar start with the bat with Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava pinning them to 20-3.
Similar to Williams’ knock, Pakistan captain Babar Azam came to his team’s rescue with a 12th ODI ton, while Wahab Riaz made 52 down the order, which gave Pakistan the upper hand.
In fact, they appeared to be cruising before Azam departed for 125, meaning Pakistan required 13 from the final over with one wicket in hand.
Mohammed Musa, though, struck two fours, the last of which came from the final ball of the innings, which led to a tie in scores as the two teams headed for what was only the second-ever super over in ODI history.
Pakistan batted first but could only manage two runs as Muzarabani continued his brilliance with two wickets, adding to the five he took in regular play.
It was down to Taylor and Sikandar Raza to see Zimbabwe over the line for a famous victory.
– CAJ News