Zimbabwe crash to heavy defeat

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Another limp batting display saw Zimbabwe crash to a 68-run defeat at the hands of the bizhub Highveld Lions in their Standard Bank Pro20 match at Liberty Life Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Chasing 159 for victory, Zimbabwe were like deer in the headlights up front as Cliffie Deacon's swing bowling caught them flatfooted and sent them on their way to a poor 90 all out.

Deacon bowled his four overs on the trot and took four for 15 as Zimbabwe suffered a stunning collapse from 25 for one to 29 for five.

The left-armer swung the ball sharply back into the batsmen so their extravagant strokes were always cramped for room, but the Zimbabwe top-order committed the sin of going too hard too early.

Hamilton Masakadza (2), Tatenda Taibu (8) and Chamunorwa Chibhabha (11) all perished going for ambitious pull strokes and, at 44 for six after eight overs, there was no more hope of Zimbabwe registering their second win of the competition.

Stuart Matsikenyeri temporarily stopped the rout with his 32 off 27 balls but there was no other resistance from the Zimbabwe batsmen.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld had earlier had fun in the closing stages of the Lions innings with a hard-hit half-century to take them to 158 for five.

Van Jaarsveld showed his top-class hitting ability with an unbeaten 65, with five sixes, in a 37-ball innings that provided a much-needed boost to the Lions innings.

After being sent into bat, the Lions lost an early wicket, wicketkeeper Taibu clinging on to a sharp catch as Blake Snijman (4) charged Masakadza and edged a fierce slash.

Justin Ontong came in and had Zimbabwe under pressure as he raced to 35 off 27 balls, with five fours and a six, before his run out let the visitors off the hook.

Alviro Petersen, who struggled to find top gear, heaved at a Prosper Utseya long-hop, but the ball only managed to squirt towards midwicket. Ontong expected a much bigger reward for the size of the stroke and went charging from the non-striker's end, but Keith Dabengwa was in quickly to complete the dismissal.

Dabengwa is a dangerous left-arm spinner too and he bowled both Petersen (19) and Stephen Cook (22), but Van Jaarsveld, who took a while to get into his stride, ensured the Lions would go back into their changeroom with a competitive total.

He peppered the stands with some scintillating straight hitting, so the fact that he failed to rotate the strike didn't really matter much.

Little off-spinner Utseya was the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers, his four brave overs costing just 23 runs, while Dabengwa finished with two for 34 and Hamilton Masakadza, bowling dibby-dobblies with the new ball, took one for 16 in three overs.
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