Zimbabwe got off to the best possible start in the opening game of the ICC World Twenty20 as they avoided an upset with a 14-run victory over Hong Kong in Nagpur.
Opener Vusi Sibanda was the highlight of the Zimbabwean innings with 59 from 46 balls, while Elton Chigumbura helped them post 158/8 from their 20 overs with three late sixes.
Jamie Atkinson held the Hong Kong innings together before falling for 53 from 44 balls, and despite a late cameo from Tanwir Afzal, they finished on 144/6.
Three players stood out in the opening game of the tournament in India, find out who stood out from the crowd in the game.
Vusi Sibanda - Zimbabwe
An outstanding innings from the 32-year-old, who looked confident at the crease from the first ball he faced.
From the stroke straight through the line, which sailed up and over the bowler for a blistering boundary, to the forceful pull a ball later, Sibanda got Zimbabwe off to a flying start.
Hamilton Masakadza departed, but Sibanda picked up where he left off, a magnificent display of batting that was fully deserved of a half-century.
The flat six which brought up to his 50 was followed by an enormous shot, which showed his brute strength, but his innings came to an end when he picked out a fielder in the deep, making 59 off 46 balls.
Jamie Atkinson – Hong Kong
Atkinson’s innings was the glue that kept the Hong Kong innings together and without it, they wouldn’t have come anywhere near the total posted by the opposition.
After smashing huge six straight back down the ground, he picked up a slower ball and he drilled it back past the bowler, which set the tone for his innings.
The opener lasted for over three-quarters of the innings, hitting four boundaries and two maximums as he showed a beautiful array of strokes all around the ground.
Hong Kong may well have pushed Zimbabwe all the way if the 25-year-old stayed at the crease, but he departed for 53 from 44 balls after he spliced an attempted slog straight to Sean Williams.
Tanwir Afzal – Hong Kong
Afzal is among Vavel’s top three performers from the game for his all-round performance with bat and ball and his leadership in both innings.
He removed Richmond Mutumbami without scoring and Zimbabwe danger man Williams for just 12 as he picked up figures of 2-19 when it came to bowling.
When the in-form Atkinson departed late in the innings, all hope of a victory almost went with him. Afzal came to the crease and was close to making the game even closer.
The Hong Kong captain finished unbeaten on 31 from 17 balls, but couldn’t quite get his side over the line, despite hitting three boundaries and a forceful maximum.