Zim Cricketer, Milton Shumba Shines In Scotland

There was a beauty to the brutality, a swagger to the savagery and, on this autumn Sunday night in Edinburgh, Milton Shumba transformed himself into the King of Scotland.

Just a month short of his 21st birthday, Shumba came of age with a devastating display of power hitting, which at times made a mockery of his youthfulness and inexperience at this level of cricket.

He also wrote his name in the stars and made headlines in The Times of London and The Times of India, the world’s biggest circulating English language newspaper.

By the end of the carnage, Shumba was still standing tall unbeaten on 66 from just 29 balls, having somehow dragged his country from the edge of defeat to a sensational series-defining victory.

They had looked dead and buried, at the halfway mark, as they staggered to 65-3.
Having lost the experience of captain Craig Ervine (25), Regis Chakabva, who turned 34 yesterday, for 25, and Sean Williams (1), this was a stunning turnaround, and victory, as they reached 180-4 in their response.

Until Shumba’s fireworks, which included a defiant match-winning stand of 98, with Wessley Madhevere, who only turned 21 on September 4, this had appeared a comfortable victory for Scotland.

The hosts piled on 177/4, built on good contributions from George Munsey (54) and Calum MacLeod (39), ending their innings in a flurry, as they plundered 30 runs from Richard Ngarava’s final over.

For a long time, this appeared like a throwback to June 10, 2018, when the Scots powered to one of their greatest victories, after beating England by six runs, in an ODI.

Many of the heroes of that triumph, MacLeod (who hit an unbeaten 140), Munsey (who hit a half century) and Coetzer, were still around.

The Grange Club, in Edinburgh, was the setting for that famous Scottish victory and, on Sunday, it appeared set for another historic day, for the hosts, with victory all but certain.
And, after Williams fell for one, bowled by Michael Leask, in the second ball of the ninth over, the writing appeared on the wall for the Chevrons.

Now, they had to depend on the heroics of two young players, who came together with the scoreboard reading 62/3, a run rate which was beginning to soar and an inspired opponent sensing blood.

But, rather than crumble under the Scottish onslaught, Shumba and Madhevere, decided to go on the offensive, with a counter attack which sucked life out of the hosts, and dragged the Chevrons back into the game.

They were together for 73 balls and having stabilised the innings, their youthful exuberance now compelled them to go for the kill, fully aware that there was no honour, in defeat.

In the 18th over, they launched a blitzkrieg, targeting Alasdair Evans, hammering him out of the park while, at the same time, dragging their team closer to victory.

The first ball of the 18th over, a back of a length delivery, was feasted upon by Shumba, who blasted it over deep mid-wicket, for a six.
The next ball, a full toss, met the same fate, with Shumba sending it for a maximum, over long on, and 12 runs had come from the first two deliveries.

The third delivery was again sent over the rope, for a six, with Shumba taking his tally, in that over, to 18 before the chaos appeared to end, when he scored one, from the fourth ball.

Until now, Madhevere had just been watching, and enjoying, the drama, from the other end.
With Shumba having taken a single, it brought Madhevere into action and he launched another low, full toss, from Evans, over deep mid-wicket, for six.

Suddenly, the scoreboard read 147-3 and, with two overs to play, the Chevrons were very much back in the search for victory.

Madhevere fell, in the next over, after he was run out, for 43 (31 balls in which he hit four fours and a six), but together they had given the world a glimpse of the future of the Chevrons.
Shumba, though, was still standing tall.

He hit two more fours and, at 176/4, at the end of the 19th over, victory was in sight.
And, by the time Ryan Burl powered a boundary, for the winning runs, at the start of the final over, there was no questioning who the hero was.

It was this fearless 20-year-old, with the surname of a lion, who was the toast of the Chevrons whose management have been using the Twenty20 International matches, as a platform, to bring in the next generation of players.

His numbers were impressive.

He hit two fours and six sixes, at a strike rate of 227.58, with his explosive knock turning the game on its head and powering Zimbabwe to a six-wicket victory, with five balls to spare.

‘‘Shane Burger, the Scotland head coach, conceded the pain of not clinching a series win over Zimbabwe would sting for a few days,’’ Graeme Macpherson wrote in The Times newspaper.

‘‘The Scots had looked in good shape for a second win over the Test-playing side in five days after posting a total of 177 for four in their innings thanks largely to a George Munsey fifty.

‘‘Zimbabwe, though, were able to chase it down thanks mainly to big-hitting Milton Shumba who finished on 66 not out from 29 balls to see his country over the line and seal a 2-1 series win.’’

The International Cricket Council said ‘‘sensational Shumba helps Zimbabwe to series victory,’’ on their website.

‘‘Milton Shumba’s stunning knock of 66* helped Zimbabwe win the third T20I against Scotland and win the three-match series 2-1,’’ the ICC reported.

‘‘Shumba, with some lusty blows, ensured that the visitors ended up on the victorious side. His 29-balll 66 was the difference-maker, as Zimbabwe clinched the three-match series by a 2-1 margin.’’ Herald

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