On the 20th Anniversary of their debut at the Under 19 Cricket World Cup, the Hebou PNG U19 Garamuts could be forgiven for letting their emotions get the best of them. But cricket at an international level is unforgiving and so were Zimbabwe in the rain reduced match at Lincoln Green, Christchurch.
After losing the toss and being put in to bat, the Garamuts got of to a solid start, with openers Simon Atai and Igo Mahuru putting on 40 runs in 8 overs at a healthy run rate of 5 an over, setting a base for a strong finish. That’s when Man of the Match Wesley Madhevere was introduced who removed Simon Atai 14(29) and Captain Vagi Karoho 1(3) in the same over and picked William Aiga for a golden duck. Robert Chimhinya by that time had removed PNG danger man and top scorer Igo Mahuru 26(26).
Sinaka Arua 18(14) came in and hit the Garamuts’ first 6 of the tournament, before holing out to none other than Madhevere, who could not seem to do any wrong on the cricket field today. PNG had gone from 65/3 to 72/7 in the space of 3 overs as Nou Rarua’s poor form continued while Eisa Eka too failed to add to the score. Ovia Sam fought a lone battle with a good looking 24 (23), but without any support at the other end, Papua New Guinea slumped to 95 all out in 20 overs as Sema Kamea was run out on the last ball of the innings for PNG’s 4th duck of the match.
The Garamuts could not handle the bowling of Madhevere today and their shoulders must have dropped further, when the Zimbabwean opened the innings with an aggression and maturity that belied his age. Madhevere wasted little time to get going and the 3rd over set the tone for what was to come as the man of the match smashed 10 runs of vice captain James Tau. At the other end, opener Gregory Dollar kept rotating the strike while never really looking uncomfortable. The boundaries kept coming and when they weren’t hitting the big shots, the openers kept the scoreboard ticking with quick singles.
Spinner Boge Arua came on and slowed down the flow of runs but no bowler could prevent the inevitable – a dominant Zimbabwean victory by 10 wickets, with 6 overs to spare. Wesley Madhevere finished with 53 runs from 44 balls in an innings that included 6 boundaries. The day belonged to him while it ended in disappointment for the Hebou PNG U19 Garamuts.
However, it must be remembered that ALL XI of the Garamuts were making their official Youth ODI debut today while Zimbabwe had only one player making his debut and the experience showed. The Garamuts play India next on Tuesday while Zimbabwe take on Australia on Wednesday in Round 2 of Group B’s matches.