Kyle Jarvis picked four wickets, but Zimbabwe also had Regis Chakabva to thank for going 2-0 up in the four-match ODI series against UAE.
Chakabva put together an unbroken 93-run stand with Peter Moor, who made 45 of those, as Zimbabwe secured a four-run win via the DLS method in Harare. Chakabva, who opened the batting, finished with an unbeaten 78, his highest ODI score as well as his maiden ODI fifty.
After rain had shaved more than two hours of play during the first innings, Zimbabwe were set a revised target of 210 in 35 overs. They were struggling at 92 for 4 in the 20th after legspinner Imran Haider had Sikandar Raza caught on the boundary for 11.
This came on the back of two early wickets courtesy Rohan Mustafa’s offspin and a catch in the deep by Mustafa off Zahoor Khan in the Powerplay. But stand-in captain Moor rallied Zimbabwe back into the match after entering at No. 6 with a bold counter-attack even as Chakabva played the anchor role.
The equation was climbing towards 10 per over at the end of the 27th with Zimbabwe 76 needed off 48 balls. This is when Moor climbed into Haider, clubbing him for four and six during a 15-run over. This was where momentum swung. Moor then hit Qadeer Ahmed for 12 in the 29th to bring the equation to a very manageable 49 off 36.
Chakabva needed medical treatment while cramping up at the end of the 31st over. This chewed up more time, and only one more over was possible, with Zimbabwe needing 25 off 18. This is when umpires called off play due to bad light at which point Zimbabwe were fractionally ahead of the par score on the DLS calculations.
UAE had climbed out of an even bigger hole in the first innings, falling to 12 for 3 in the seventh over after Jarvis claimed three wickets in his six-over spell with the new ball.
Unlike Wednesday when the visitors struggled to post a competitive total, UAE fought back valiantly behind a 131-run partnership between Ghulam Shabber and Shaiman Anwar. The pair were cruising with Shaiman smashing Brandon Mavuta for six to bring up a 61-ball half-century in the 29th over, but two balls later play was halted with the score 122 for 3 due to persistent rains.
When play finally resumed, UAE only had six more overs left to bat. The stand was finally broken 13 balls after the restart when Donald Tiripano claimed Shabber for 56 and Shaiman fell six balls later to Tendai Chatara for 72.
Still, UAE were in an excellent position at 165 for 5 after captain Mohammad Naveed hit the first ball of the 34th over by Tiripano for six. But UAE managed just three runs off the final 11 deliveries of the innings. In this period, Tiripano claimed two more wickets before Jarvis returned in the 35th to claim Chirag Suri as UAE ended on 168 for 8.
The stumble at the finish cost UAE badly. Even with the 41-run adjusted target, they could not keep Moor and Chakabva from edging past them.
The teams square off in the third ODI on Sunday.