Sean William's (left) impressive 78 led Zimbabwe to a convincing 4 wickets win over UAE © Getty Images
Sean William’s (left) impressive 78 led Zimbabwe to a convincing 4 wickets win over UAE © Getty Images

Zimbabwe defeated United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the eighth match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 at the Saxton Oval in Nelson on Thursday, fulfilling all expectations and continuing their recently-discovered consistency. Amit Banerjee lists some of the top moments from the game. Match Report: Zimbabwe vs UAE

Zimbabwe and UAE faced each other in the Pool B encounter, with many expecting the former to be strong favourites to win the contest, and that too by a comfortable margin. The sudden surge in expectations from Zimbabwe was a result of their performances in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, both in the warm-ups as well as in the league match against South Africa. Zimbabwe had put up a tough fight against New Zealand, before shocking Sri Lanka with a seven-wicket defeat. They even nearly pulled off a win against South Africa in the opening Pool B match in Hamilton. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: SCHEDULE & MATCH DETAILS

The match against UAE saw several twists and turns, with the contest being wide open to all three results until the forecast began to get clearer towards last couple of overs. While UAE did impress on a few fronts, especially with their batting performance, Zimbabwe are beginning to signs of the performance that they displayed in the 1999 edition of the mega-event, during which Zimbabwe was going through its ‘Golden Era’ of their cricket.

UAE posted 285 for seven after being put to bat by Zimbabwe, with Shaiman Anwar top-scoring for his side with a 50-ball 67. It was UAE’s highest ODI total of all time, with the eighth-wicket pair of Ajmal Javed and Mohammad Naveed playing a vital role in guiding UAE to the daunting total. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: POINTS TABLE

Zimbabwe in reply got off to a slow, but steady start, with Sikandar Raza and Regis Chakabva putting up a 50-run opening stand. Wickets tumbled for the Zimbabweans in regular intervals, with Brendan Taylor falling three runs short of a half-century after getting trapped leg-before off the bowling of Nasir Aziz. Eventually, it was Sean Williams and Craig Ervine who came to Zimbabwe’s rescue, with skipper Elton Chigumbura lending a hand in finishing things off. Following are the five highlights from the match:

Khurram Khan begins the offensive: UAE were given the initial setback with a couple of dismissals. The 43-year-old Khurram Khan teamed up with Krishna Chandran to guide their side to a position of strength, which they succeeded in accomplishing to an extent. The pair added 82 runs for the third wicket, with Khurram scoring 45 of those runs with the help of six powerfully-hit boundaries.

Shaiman Anwar’s fireworks: After the departure of Khurram and Chandran, it was the turn of Anwar and Swapnil Patil to produce the second 82-run stand of the innings, this time for the fifth wicket and consuming 69 balls during the stand. Anwar ended up top-scoring for his side with a knock of 67 off 50 deliveries, which helped set the foundation for UAE to finish their innings on a high.

Hamilton Masakadza’s failure: A lot was expected from Zimbabwe’s premier batsman in the match against UAE, especially after scoring a valiant 80 off 74 balls against the South African attack, which included the likes of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.  He was dismissed for a poor score of one off the fourth delivery that he faced, getting trapped off the bowling of Nasir Aziz. His dismissal sent shockwaves throughout the Zimbabwean camp, though thankfully for them, other members of the team stood up for them.

Regis Chakabva’s hit-wicket: Chakabva’s dismissal was perhaps one of the most unfortunate dismissals in the tournament so far. Chakabva was attempting to push the ball towards leg-side on his back-foot, resulting in his left foot sliding into the stumps and disturbing the bails. Chakabva and the UAE exuded emotions that were quite different, with the former holding a long face on his way back to the pavilion. The UAE players, on the other hand, looked amused at the dismissal.

Sean Williams’s match-winning knock: Williams came to the crease at a time when victory was not necessarily guaranteed to the Zimbabweans, who were looking topsy-turvy at a score of 167 for five while chasing a target of 286. Williams smashed 76 from 65 balls, bolstered by seven boundaries and a six. He shared the vital 83-run sixth-wicket stand with Craig Ervine (42). He eventually brought about the winning runs, hitting two consecutive boundaries to cross the finish line.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)