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Images: Taibu, Price help Zimbabwe outclass Canada

Last updated on: February 28, 2011 19:05 IST

Zimbabwe post a challenging total

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An assured 98 from Tatenda Taibu and a devastating opening spell from left-arm spinner Ray Price spurred Zimbabwe to a crushing 175-run victory over Canada in their World Cup Group A match on Monday.

After setting Canada a daunting 299 for victory, Zimbabwe made sure they maintained their perfect record against the North Americans by skittling them for 123.

Earlier, Former captain Tatenda Taibu missed out on his maiden World Cup century by two runs but his knock helped Zimbabwe score a challenging 298 for nine against Canada in a Group A match in Nagpur on Monday.

- Scorecard

Taibu added 181 runs for the third wicket with Craig Ervine to lay the foundation of the Zimbabwe innings after batting first in the match touted as the 'Battle of Minnows' at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground at Jamtha.

While Taibu found the gaps with aplomb during his knock of 98 of 99 balls from which he hit nine fours, Ervine (85) was happy playing the second fiddle.


Image: Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu hits the ball towards the boundary during the World Cup Group A game between Canada and Zimbabwe
Photographs: Getty Images
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Balaji was the pick of the bowlers

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Once Ervine reached his personal milestone, he suddenly accelerated and matched his senior partner stroke for stroke after they were reduced to seven for two by the fourth over with both openers Brendan Taylor (0) and Charles Coventry (4) back in the hut.

But that was all Canada bowlers could manage for the next 27.5 overs as the Zimbabwean duo hardly looked in any kind of discomfort.

For Canada, former Tamil Nadu spinner Balaji Rao was the pick of the bowlers grabbing 4 for 57. Harvir Baidwan and Khurram Chohan scalped two wickets apiece.

Veteran leggie Balaji used all his years of experience in Ranji Trophy to ensure that Zimbabwe did not race away to a total that would be unattainable.


Image: Canada's Balaji Rao is congratulated by Nitesh Kumar during the World Cup Group A game between Canada and Zimbabwe
Photographs: Getty Images
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Taibu played shot from the onset

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Taibu started playing his strokes from the onset. Not only did he punish the pacers, he was at ease against the Canadian spinners using his feet to good effect. Ervine, on the other hand, ran quick singles and gave the bulk of the strike to Taibu on a placid Jamtha strip.

While Taibu completed his half century off 45 deliveries with eight hits, Ervine took 55 deliveries to complete his 50 with four boundaries and a six.

However, once the duo completed their 50s, there seemed to be a reversal of roles. Suddenly it was Taibu who dropped the anchor and was happy taking singles while Ervine gave the slower bowlers some treatment. He hit two huge sixes --one over mid-wicket and the other straight over long-on boundary.


Image: Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu plays a shot during their World Cup Group A match against Canada
Photographs: Reuters
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Zimbabwe lost 5 wickets for 52 runs

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It was Balaji who put the brakes on Zimbabwe innings. Although he bowled a few long hops but he was not afraid of giving the ball air. He first got Ervine a bat-pad catch which was smartly taken by Bagai.

Taibu, who suddenly went quiet once he was in his 90s, was deceived by the flight and mistimed a sweep shot which was taken by Davison at mid-wicket.

Balaji then got Sean Williams with another bat-pad catch to Bagai while Greg Lamb went for a cut shot with very little room provided. This was former India A spinner's best figures in ODIs.

Suddenly from 188 for two, Zimbabwe slumped to 240 for seven losing five wickets for 52 runs. But Prosper Utseya (22 off 29 balls) and Graeme Cremer (26 off 23 balls) added 41 useful runs for the eighth wicket to take the total near 300.


Image: Canada's Harvir Baidwan (L) celebrates dismissing Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry
Photographs: Reuters
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Price makes Canada pay

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Chasing 299 for victory, Canada never found their feet and were victim to Ray Price's accurate bowling.

Price removed John Davison (0), Nitish Kumar (1) and Ashish Bagai (0) to leave the Canadians reeling on seven for three and they never recovered from the setback.

Bagai's team had crawled to 14 runs after the first 10 overs and facing a required run-rate of 7.12 at that stage, the result was all but a foregone conclusion.

Ruvindu Gunasekera scored a painstakingly slow 24 off 64 balls and when Greg Lamb dislodged his bails with a rather tame delivery, the Zimbabwean was rewarded with a sweaty cheek-to-cheek rub from one of his delighted team mates.
Price finished with 3-16.


Image: Ray Price is congratulated by teammates after dismissing Canada's Nitish Kumar
Photographs: Getty Images
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'We are ready for the semi-finals'

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"With the ball, things went really well. I wouldn't mind taking that wicket around with me, it's fun to bowl on," grinned Price, who was handed the new ball in a move that is proving to be popular on the slow-turning sub-continent pitches.

"You never complain when you come to India as a spinner."

His captain Elton Chigumbura, perhaps getting a little carried away with their first win here, added: "We are up and running and (ready) for the semi-finals."

Although reaching the second round let alone the semis might be a far-fetched dream for the Zimbabweans, who are grouped with world champions Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, at least they recorded their first win in this World Cup.

Canada seem destined to catch an early flight home after being subjected to a second successive hammering.


Image: Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu with his man-of-the-match award
Photographs: Getty Images
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