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Blignaut lifts Zimbabwe
February 24, 2003 18:52 IST
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A blistering knock of 54 runs off just 28 balls by Andy Blignaut pushed Zimbabwe to a highly competitive score of 246 for nine in a World Cup Group A league match against Australia in Bulawayo on Monday.
Zimbabwe were reeling at 142 for six in the 37th over after electing to bat first when Blignaut came up with his blitzkrieg, smashing eight fours and two sixes to revive his side's fortunes.
Blignaut's innings followed the rescue act by the Flower brothers after Zimbabwe had lost their openers for 28 runs in the eighth over. Andy Flower top-scored with 62 runs while Grant Flower made 37.
However, both got out in quick succession as Zimbabwe lost their way in the middle overs before Blignaut took on the Australian attack.
There were useful scores from captain Heath Streak, who remained unbeaten on a 19-ball 28, and wicketkeeper batsman Tatenda Taibu, who made 23.
Zimbabwe lost openers Craig Wishart and Guy Whittal cheaply, both dismissed by Jason Gillespie while trying the pull shot.
The Flower brothers slowly rebuilt the innings, putting on 74 runs for the third wicket. When he reached 24, Andy Flower became the highest run-getter for Zimbabwe in World Cups, surpassing the 567 runs scored by Dave Houghton.
Just when the brothers looked ready to step on the accelerator, disaster struck Zimbabwe in the form of run out of Grant Flower who hesitated in going for the second run and paid the penalty. Grant Flower faced 58 deliveries and hit four boundaries.
After the addition of just nine runs, Andy Flower was clean bowled by a sharply turning delivery from Bradd Hogg, who went on to take two more wickets to finish with three for 46.
Andy Flower struck eight fours in his 91-ball knock.
Dion Ebrahim (15) and Douglas Marillier were dismissed off successive deliveries by Hogg which set up the stage for a Blignaut assault.
Blignaut hit Gillespie for four boundaries in the 42nd over which yielded 18 runs before smashing Hogg in the next over for 19 runs including two sixes and four as Zimbabwe crossed the 200-run mark.
His second six also brought up his half-century, off just 26 deliveries. Blignaut was finally out when Brett Lee took a return catch off a full-toss that was smashed hard by the batsman.
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