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Zimbabwe win WT20 opener

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 08-03-2016 skysports.com
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Zimbabwe beat Hong Kong by 14 runs in the opening game of the ICC 2016 World T20 in Nagpur. 

Viru Sibanda (59 off 46 balls) hit a maiden T20I half century for Zimbabwe, helping them to 158-8 from their 20 overs.

Sibanda put on 61 for the fifth wicket with Malcolm Waller (26) after Zimbabwe struggled at the start, losing four wickets inside eight overs.

However, both were dismissed inside four balls in the 17th over as Zimbabwe again lost a cluster of quick wickets before a crucial unbeaten 30 off 13 balls from Elton Chigumbura - including three sixes - helped them to a winning score.

Jamie Atkinson (53 off 44) hit fifty for Hong Kong, but with the required run-rate creeping above 13-an-over, he fell in the 17th over.

Tanwir Azfal (31no off 17) briefly threatened to take the game to the wire, striking three fours and a six, and Zimbabwe will have been particularly worried when Chigumbura dropped the Hong Kong captain on 17.

With 30 needed from the final two overs, Tendai Chatara (2-28) took two wickets in two balls to find himself on a hat-trick. He could not take it, but Zimbabwe would close the game out for the win.

After Hong Kong won the toss and chose to field, they benefited from some dozy running by Hamilton Masakadza (20 off 13), the Zimbabwe skipper was run out with his bat not grounded and his foot off the floor when a direct hit clattered into the stumps.

The impressive Tanwir (2-19) then removed Richmond Mutumbami - for a duck - and Sean Williams (12) as Zimbabwe stumbled to 62-4.

The scoring rate was still high thanks to Sibanda's efforts at the other end, and he rebuilt with Waller, notching a vital fifty-partnership.

Aizaz Khan (2-33) removed both in the same over and another run out meant Zimbabwe had lost three wickets for four runs and were suddenly struggling to set a decent score, before Chigumbura's fireworks from the final two overs.

Hong Kong made a slow start to their reply, hitting only five boundaries and one six in the first 10 overs, scoring 48 and losing Ryan Campbell and Babar Hayat, both for nine.

Atkinson received some useful support from Mark Chapman (19 off 17) and Anshuman Rath (13 off 8), but perished soon after reaching his fifty, and Hong Kong's hopes of an unlikely win disappeared with him, despite Tanwir's best efforts.

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