Zimbabwe’s under-18 and under-16 national cricket teams have both made a clean sweep of the five opening T20 matches at the Easterns Festival in Benoni, South Africa.
Zimbabwe under-18 had two close calls, but the under-16’s have totally demolished all opposition with top-order batsmen Nick Welch and captain Walter Huchu shining.
In the fifth game on Friday Zimbabwe struggled to chase down the Easterns total of 93 and won a tense match by three wickets with three balls to spare. On Thursday Zimbabwe reached a handsome 150 for six wickets thanks to some big hitting by Gary King who scored 42 in 26 balls (including three sixes in a row) and Richie Lock whose 55 took 38 balls. Easterns made a determined response, falling 19 runs short.
Namibia u19 also sorely tested Zimbabwe’s mettle and fell just nine runs short in response to Zimbabwe’s hefty 143 for two wickets, with gary King again to the fore with a quick-fire 63 and Tatenda Chiradza making 44.
In the other two matches Zimbabwe dominated, with Eddie Byrom and Richie Lock pitting on 101 for the opening partnership against Eastern Invitation to open the festival with an eight-wicket victory.
In the under-16 section Zimbabwe have not been tested and have romped to five straight victories in style. Nick Welch has been impressive with the bat scoring 15 no, 30, 40 no, 28, 73 for an average of 65 so far on tour. Walter Huchu has recorded scores of 20, 8, 61 no, 34.
v Easterns Invitation: Easterns 120/7; Zimbabwe 121/2 (R. Lock 50, E. Byrom 45). Zimbabwe won by 8 wickets.
v Easterns u16: Zimbabwe 150/6 (R. Lock 55, G. King 42, K. Hopper 22); Easterns 135/7 (G. King 1-37, K. Hopper 1-12). Zimbabwe won by 19 runs.
v Namibia u19: Zimbabwe 143/2 (Nyamusa 24, G. King 63, T. Chiradza 44); Namibia 134/7. Zimbabwe won by 9 runs.
v Botswana u19: Botswana 116/6; Zimbabwe 117/1 (R. Lock 64 no, Ali 32 no, E. Byrom 18),Zimbabwe won by 9 wickets.
v Easterns Combined: Easterns 93/8; Zimbabwe 94/7 (Zaheer 19, S. Snater 16). Zimbabwe won by 3 wickets.
v Easterns Invitation: Easterns 35 all out (K. Matigimu 2-7); Zimbabwe 36-0 (N. Welch 15 no, D, Vermaak 15 no). Zimbabwe won by 10 w8ickets.
v Easterns u15: Easterns 75/7 (K. Jaure 2-6. W. Mubayiwa 2-15, W. Huchu 2-15); Zimbabwe 76/2 (n. Welch 30, W. Huchu 20 no). Zimbabwe won by 8 wickets.
v Namibia: Namibia 69/9 (K. Jaure 2-15, B. Sly 2-11, W. Huchu 2-15, W. Mubayiwa 2-8); Zimbabwe 70/2 (N. Welch 40 no). Zimbabwe won by 8 wickets.
v Easterns u14: Zimbabwe 184/4 (K. Matigimu 32, N. Welch 28, W. Huchu 61 no, K. Jaure 35 no); Easterns 54 all out (T. Muzamhindo 2-2, J. Schadendorf 3-7, B. Sly 1-12, L. Butler 1-10, N. Welch 2-14). Zimbabwe won by 133 runs.
v Swaziland: Zimbabwe 171/5 (N. Welch 73, W. Huchu 34, K. Matigimu 48); Swaziland 50 all out (K. Jaure 2-5, L. Butler 2-4, W. Mubayiwa 2-0). Zimbabwe won by 149 runs.