Eagles down Zim in exciting clash

In a remarkable match in the MTN Domestic Championship played at the De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Wednesday, Boeta Dippenaar’s Diamond Eagles snatched an exciting three wicket-victory over Zimbabwe.

Set a 219 victory target, the Diamond Eagles appeared to be dead and buried on 133/7 in the 36th over. But skipper Dippenaar, 53 not out, was then joined by the hard-hitting Dillon du Preez and, in 37 amazing minutes of power-batting, the pair put on 88 runs, scored off only 45 balls, to carry their team to 221/7 and a sensational victory with 2.2 overs still remaining.

Man-of-the-match Dippenaar finished undefeated on an excellent 87 scored off 101 balls while Du Preez’s explosive 47 included four massive sixes and two fours. He faced just 25 balls.

Opening bowler Gary Brent was the most successful of the Zimbabwe bowlers with 2/37 in 8.4 overs while left-arm spinner Raymond Price took 1/21 in nine very tidy overs, and leg-spinner Graham Cremer took 2/47 in seven.

The turning point in the match was probably when tall fast bowler Christopher Mpofu was recalled into the Zim bowling attack. No-balled for bowling two above waist-high deliveries, he immediately had to be removed from the attack.

His replacement was wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu who, hard as he tried without his pads, was unable to stop the Dippenaar-Du Preez partnership.

For the hapless Zimbabweans, who more than held their own until the last few overs of the match, it really was a case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Earlier, winning the toss and choosing to bat in ideal conditions, Zimbabwe had their number three, Sean Williams, to thank for their eventually defendable 45-over total of 218/7.

Going in to bat with Zimbabwe 3/1 in the third over, the slightly-built 20-year-old left-hander initially did not find it easy going. But he applied himself to the task at hand and, though wickets began to fall at the other end, Williams stood firm.

When Zimbabwe lost their fourth wicket in the 31st over with the score on 118, it required Williams, 53 not out at this stage, to both keep going and also to inspire his teammates to a faster scoring rate during the remaining 14 overs.

He succeeded admirably in both these objectives.

Receiving good support from Regis Chakabva (20) and the hard-hitting Elton Chigimbura (28 scored off 14 balls), Williams went on to post his maiden limited-overs century in the penultimate over of the innings. He was then caught for a very-well played, chanceless 102. — Sapa

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