New Zealand Under 19s had their second cliff-hanger in a week against Zimbabwe – this time being pipped by two wickets with three balls to spare in their final warm-up match ahead of the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.
Bowled out for 198 in the quadrangular series match at Durban, the young New Zealanders then found themselves in a dogfight throughout the second innings, regularly taking wickets as Zimbabwe inched towards the target.
At 189 for seven after 48 overs, Zimbabwe required 10 runs off the final two overs and, following a fine penultimate over from Joey Field, nine runs off the final six balls – which they eventually achieved: Luke Oldknow ending the game with a six off Kristian Clarke.
Earlier in the innings, Zimbabwe had recovered from the loss of Wesley Madhevere to put on 85 for the second wicket, after which they lost wickets at regular intervals, including man-of-the-match Milton Shumba for 50 in the 36th over.
At that point, with Zimbabwe still facing some work at 133 for six the game was very much in the balance, and even more so when the well-credentialled Dane Schadendorf was bowled by Jesse Tashkoff in the 40th – with 47 required off the last ten overs.
However, Taurayi Tugwete (37 off 48 balls) and Oldknow (27* off 34) then added an invaluable 37 tuns for the eighth wicket before Tugwete fell – leaving Oldknow to finish the task in the closing stanzas.
New Zealand’s spin-bowlers were again to the fore, with Tashkoff and Wheeler-Greenall each taking two for 32 off their 10 over allotments.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, New Zealand enjoyed their best start of the series, with openers Rhys Mariu (23) and Ollie White (32) putting on 52 for the first wicket before the former became the first of four scalps claimed by Shumba’s left-arm orthodox spin.
Fergus Lellman and Nick Lidstone both fell cheaply to the Zimbabwean all-rounder and, when White followed with the total reading 77 for four, New Zealand were facing a period of consolidation.
This was provided initially by Tashkoff (39 off 59 balls) and Wheeler-Greenall (24 off 49), the pair adding 56 for the fifth wicket, and later by Quinn Sunde (23 off 32) and tailender Clarke – who scored a quickfire 21 off 18 balls.
In the final of the quadrangular series, India beat South Africa by 69 runs.