High risk cricket costs Scotland as Zimbabwe set up Sunday decider with T20 triumph

Scotland head coach Shane Burger was left ruing a “missed opportunity” as Zimbabwe won the second match in the Wolf777 T20 Series at The Grange on Friday to level the score at 1-1 heading into Sunday’s decider.

Scotland's Matthew Cross during a T20 International match between Scotland and Zimbabwe at The Grange, on September 17, 2021. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The hosts had won game one by seven runs on Wednesday and this was also a tight, gripping affair which went to the last over as 136-5 played 126 all out.

After the match Burger said: “We have to see that as a missed opportunity, we bowled and fielded well again, but being three or four wickets down early on doesn’t make it easy in any run chase.

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“If you play that high risk cricket with the bat then that can happen sometimes though and credit to Zimbabwe for the way they bowled and fielded, some of their catches were excellent and, indeed, game changing.

Man of the match Richard Ngarava of Zimbabwe during a T20 International match between Scotland and Zimbabwe at The Grange, on September 17, 2021. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“When Richie Berrington and Matthew Cross were going well and then Michael Leask came in we still had a chance of winning, but Zimbabwe held their nerve and you could see what the win meant to them at the end.

“It should be another exciting match on Sunday.”

Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat and, after falling to 20-3, skipper Craig Ervine and Sean Williams then put together a 71-run partnership.

Ervine fell for 30, but Williams carried on his merry way and scored 60 not out from 52 balls to haul his side up to their 136 total which, despite being unspectacular, was defendable.

Spinner Leask was the pick of the Scotland bowlers with 1-23.

In reply, the Scots lost captain Kyle Coetzer, Oli Hairs and George Munsey within the first three overs and when Calum MacLeod then fell to a very sharp catch by Ryan Burl they were 16-4 and in some danger.

Berrington, playing his 250th game in all formats for Scotland, scored 42 as did Cross while Leask weighed in with 25 off 21 balls and the hosts needed 13 off the last over to win.

However, two wickets for Wellington Masakadza and two run outs put any hopes of winning the game out of Scotland’s reach and Zimbabwe held on to triumph by 10-runs.

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