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Raza, Hami stand tall

Batsmen Hamilton Masakadza and Sikandar Raza Butt and captain Graeme Cremer, with the ball, were the standout performers for Zimbabwe in their two-match Test series which ended in a 1-0 defeat following the conclusion of the second match that played out to a draw in Bulawayo yesterday.

By Kevin Mapasure

Zimbabwe will be kicking themselves that they squandered an opportunity to at least force a draw in the first Test after a meek batting display saw them bowled out for 159 runs in their first innings, having bowled out West Indies for 209 runs.

As they review the whole series, most of the batsmen will not be pleased with their figures while Masakadza and Raza will be proud of their individual contributions albeit in defeat.

Masakadza, the only centurion for Zimbabwe in all four innings, scored the highest number of runs for Zimbabwe with 251, having made 42 and 57 in the first Test as well as 147 and 18 in the second.

He knows that he threw away his wicket in the second innings of the first Test where he could have gone on to make a bigger impact, but he made up for that with his fifth century which he scored in the first innings of the second Test as Zimbabwe put on a total of 326 runs.

Coach Heath Streak had demanded a better total in the first innings with the experience of the first Test in mind and the batsmen managed to give him that.

Middle order batsman Sikandar Raza Butt can look back at his figures from this series with pride, having contributed the second highest figure with 205 runs to his name.

Raza struggled in the first Test with six and 30, but hit two half centuries in the second Test where he could have even celebrated a century with 80 and 89.

The rest of the batsmen may want to forget this series quickly with most of them managing to get starts but failing to build big from them.

Solomon Mire won his first Test cap in the first match but never really looked comfortable in the opening role.

He scored 27 and 47 in the first match which Zimbabwe lost by 117 runs while he had single figures in each of the two innings of the second Test with 4 and a duck.

His grand total in all four matches is 78, just one ahead of Craig Ervine who has scores of 39, 18, zero and 22.
Brendan Taylor, making his return to international cricket, scored a half century (73) in the second innings of the first Test, but he wasn’t much better with a total of 85.

Sean Williams played only the first Test and his total is 13 runs while his replacement in the second Test Peter Moor had a decent run with 52 and 42.

Among the bowlers, as expected Cremer stood out with eight wickets in the first Test and one in the second with West indies only batting once.

In addition to starring with the bat, Raza also enjoyed success with the ball, taking two wickets in the first Test before a fiver in the first innings of the second Test.

Seamer Kyle Jarvis marked his return to international cricket with three wickets in the first Test but he missed the second owing to injury.

There was talk of Chris Mpofu thriving at Queens Sports Club but in this series there was no sign of that as he failed to get any wicket in the first Test before picking up one in the second.

Zimbabwe will be reasonably pleased with their dogged fight in the second Test, but it is a series lost and it all points to the first innings where they were seemingly caught cold and only warmed up to the challenge later.

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