Fiji’s frailty with the bat was exposed again as they were dismissed for only 81 by a Zimbabwe Under-19s side who romped home by seven wickets.
The Group C win keeps Zimbabwe’s hopes in the competition alive and all but condemns Fiji to an early exit from the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
Fiji won the toss in Chittagong and Saimoni Tuitoga opted to bat. But it was Zimbabwe’s spin duo of Wesley Madhevere (5-24) and Blessing Mavuta (3-13) who called the shots to dismiss Fiji for a paltry score in 27.4 overs.
The target was never going to trouble Zimbabwe who finished the chase in 18.5 overs with seven wickets in hand to complete a perfect start to its tournament.
Fiji’s opening batsmen – Jordan Dunham and T Veitacini – made a decent start as they negotiated the new ball adding 32 for the opening wicket. But once Kundai Matigimu, the pacer, had Veitacini edge to the wicketkeeper in the ninth over, the spinners took over to wreak havoc.
Madhevere, the offspinner, began his spell by trapping Dunham in his first over and removed two of the top-order batsmen in his fourth over to leave Fiji in trouble. Recognising Fiji’s struggles against spin, Mavuta, Zimbabwe’s captain and legspinner, brought himself on and the pair ran through the middle order.
He too struck twice in his third over, and within no time, Fiji was reduced to 50 for 8. That Fiji even got to 81 was due to Cakacaka Tikoisuva, the No. 8. He hit three boundaries for his 19 runs – the highest score of the innings before being the last man dismissed. Only three Fiji batsmen made double-digit scores, while Extras was the second highest contributor with 15 runs.
Josaia Baleicikoibia, Fiji’s mediumpacer, dismissed Shaun Snyder and Ryan Murray within the first five overs but Fiji was never in the game. Brendan Sly, the opener, and Jeremy Ives shared a 46-run stand for the third wicket to ensure there was no way back for Fiji.
Ives fell with the target nine runs away but Sly remained unbeaten on 29 to take Zimbabwe past the line.
Fiji had earlier lost to England in its opening game by 299 runs after being bowled out for 72 in reply to England’s 371 for 3.
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