Cricket Australia chases votes for John Howard

Cricket Australia officials are still lobbying to gain enough support to install John Howard as the ICC’s vice-president in Singapore over the next two days. The appointment of Howard, the former Australia prime minister, is supposed to be a formality but it has become increasingly uncertain following complaints raised by Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Howard’s vice-presidency will be a key issue at the ICC’s executive board meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, which occurs before the elevation of India’s Sharad Pawar to the top job. James Sutherland, Cricket Australia’s chief executive, and the chairman Jack Clarke are in Singapore for various talks this week and are attempting to secure the seven votes required for Howard to get the deputy’s role. “There are still discussions taking place,” a Cricket Australia spokesman said on Monday.

New Zealand look to resume ties with Zimbabwe

In what is another positive development for Zimbabwe as a host of sporting events, New Zealand Cricket has said that it would like to resume cricketing ties with the country, following a fruitful meeting between the sports ministers of the two countries in Wellington earlier this week.

David Coltart, the Zimbabwe sports minister, met his New Zealand counterpart, Murray McCully and the positive result of the meeting was the change of stance by the New Zealand government regarding cricketing tours to the southern African nation. NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan confirmed that he later met Coltart at Christchurch and was convinced the climate was conducive to resuming ties.

Raina leads India to series sweep

Suresh Raina and M Vijay made light work of Zimbabwe’s second-highest total in Twenty20 internationals, smacking five sixes and eight fours between them to set up a seven-wicket win, and with that the 2-0 sweep of the Twenty20 series. Sweeps and reverse-sweeps from Tatenda Taibu and a late cameo from Charles Coventry took Zimbabwe to their mildly competitive total, but it could be argued they lost the match in their Powerplay that went for only 21 runs.

Spinners take India to comfortable win

India registered their first win of the tour against Zimbabwe after their spinners choked the life out of the middle of the hosts’ innings. Zimbabwe came out all bats blazing, but charred themselves as well, losing too many wickets early, and let spinners dominate proceedings after that. India stuttered in the chase, getting reduced to 48 for 4, but Yusuf Pathan and Virat Kohli carried them home.

Dilshan century drives Sri Lanka to title

On the final day of the tri-series, the clock struck 12 and Zimbabwe’s Cinderella XI ran into harsh reality. Put into bat, they were accosted by top-quality swing bowling from Nuwan Kulasekara and Dilhara Fernando, and the damage done in those early overs was too great to reverse for a resourceful Tatenta Taibu, who swept and hustled his way to 71. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga were ruthless in finishing Zimbabwe off with a 160-run opening stand.

Spinners, Taylor trounce Sri Lanka by eight wickets

Who’d a thunk it? Zimbabwe finished the league stage at the top of the table, winning comprehensively all their 50-over matches, and losing the one that was truncated to 26. Even in the first quarter of the final league match, a dead rubber, Sri Lanka seemed to have run away with the game, having scored 122 for no loss thanks largely to a rollicking start from Tillakaratne Dilshan. Zimbabwe’s army of spinners – accurate, aggressive, aided by good fielding – then came into action, and Sri Lanka managed only 114 in the rest of the piece. The chase hardly ever looked difficult, and once again Brendan Taylor was at the centre of it, scoring only his second ODI hundred and overhauling his personal best.

Clinical Zimbabwe crush India and get bonus point

Just to prove that their first win over India wasn’t an upset, Zimbabwe won even more convincingly – with a bonus point this time, making their qualification for the final a distinct possibility. A combination of disciplined bowling and fielding, and directionless batting from India, meant Zimbabwe were chasing an ordinary total. Just to show the pitch had no demons that could justify a total of 194, Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza punished the bowlers, adding 128 runs in 26.3 overs.

Spinners, Dilshan humble Zimbabwe

“Frankly today we were rubbish,” said Zimbabwe’s new coach Alan Butcher. And he was right. It was a one-way street in Bulawayo. Only Hamilton Masakadza turned up for Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka attacked from every corner, with spin and seam, to strangle and harass the hosts who just about managed to get past 100. Only Masakadza managed to successfully combine aggressive intent with the required skill that the rain-reduced 26-over game demanded of the batsmen. It was Sri Lanka, led by Ajantha Mendis, who called all the shots and Tillakaratne Dilshan ensured they earned a bonus point and took the top spot with a breezy knock.

Taylor and Ervine seal terrific win

This wasn’t really an upset. Zimbabwe were the stronger side of the two, which showed in the assured manner of a tall chase, set up by fliers from Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza and finished off with 10 balls to spare by a cool-on-debut Craig Ervine. The return of high-profile cricket to Zimbabwe put smiles on the faces of a spirited crowd, built mostly of school children, as the home team meticulously beat India for the first time in eight years, and sealed its second-highest chase in ODIs. A weak India’s only creditable spell came when Rohit Sharma scored 69 off the last 36 balls he faced to score his maiden ODI century and give them a fighting total on a flat track.

New Zealand in Super Eights after easy rain-hit win

Zimbabwe came into the tournament as one of the form teams after shocking Pakistan and Australia in the warm-ups, but they subsided to one of the lowest Twenty20 totals against New Zealand to become the first team to bow out of the competition. After making a sprightly start, they collapsed spectacularly – losing eight wickets for sixteen runs – to ease New Zealand’s path to the Super Eights.