Zimbabwe Women – 93 all out in 38.4 overs (Precious Marange 17, Josephine Nkomo 17*, Pellagia Mujaji 13; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3/25, Deepti Sharma 2/14)
India Women – 94-1 in 18.3 overs (Mona Meshram 46*, Harmanpreet Kaur 38*; Josephine Nkomo 1/41)
India Women won by nine wickets
Zimbabwe Women today learnt valuable lessons in their nine-wicket loss to India Women in a women’s quadrangular tournament match played at the North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
Although the vastly improving Zimbabwe stunned Ireland by six wickets on Tuesday, it would have been unrealistic to expect them to repeat the giant-killing act against India.
Yet, despite the daunting task of taking on one of the world’s best sides in the women’s game, the Zimbabwean ladies still came out brimming with confidence, electing to bat after winning the toss.
Facing top-class bowlers, the opening duo of Chipo Mugeri and Loreen Tshuma showed composure and sound judgement in working out which deliveries to defend, leave or score off.
In the fourth over, Mugeri twice whacked Mansi Joshi to the rope, and Tshuma got her own boundary in the following over bowled by Shikha Pandey.
But the gulf in class soon started to show.
By the 12th over, Zimbabwe were three wickets down, with only 26 runs on the board – both openers, Mugeri and Tshuma, were dismissed for nine while Modester Mupachikwa was out for five.
Captain Sharne Mayers and Mary-Anne Musonda, the pair whose unbroken 125-run partnership powered Zimbabwe to the famous victory over Ireland on Tuesday, were expected to stabilise the innings.
But that was not to be: first, Mayers was caught for four before, six deliveries later and without a run added to the total, Musonda was clean-bowled for a duck, leaving the Zimbabweans reeling at 30 for five in the 14th over.
Precious Marange tried to salvage the innings but she too soon perished having scored 17, including a six and two fours, off the 13 deliveries she faced; 54 for six in the 17th over.
A 20-run partnership for the seventh wicket shared by Pellagia Mujaji and Josephine Nkomo gave Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope to muster a defendable total, but that was extinguished in the 29th over when Mujaji’s dismissal for 13 left them on 74 for seven.
The Indians then tore through the last mesh of resistance – Tasmeen Granger (6), Nomatter Mutasa (4) and Nomvelo Sibanda (1) – bundling Zimbabwe out for 93 in 38.4 overs, with Nkomo remaining unbeaten on 17.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad finished with three wickets, while Deepti Sharma bagged two.
Although Nkomo dismissed opening batter Veda Krishnamurthy for a duck in the first over, it would have been a big ask to expect Zimbabwe to defend their paltry total.
And the duo of Mona Meshram and Harmanpreet Kaur barely broke a sweat as their unbroken 93-run partnership took India home by a massive nine wickets.
Meshram top-scored with 46 not out, while Kaur contributed an unbeaten 38.
Despite the huge margin of defeat, there is absolutely no shame for Zimbabwe in losing to a vastly experienced team with ODI status and currently ranked the fourth-best in the women’s game.
If anything, Zimbabwe will have to take the lessons they learnt today into their next match against the hosts South Africa on Monday next week.