ICC Cricket World Cup - South Africa 2003


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Also check out other Man of the Match from today: Sri Lanka v New Zealand

Hurricane Wishart hits Namibia hard

Craig Wishart
At least some of England's safety concerns about playing in Harare, it appears, are not unfounded, but they have nothing to do with the security situation there. They must deal, instead, with the safety of the bowlers against a Craig Wishart who seemed, on Monday, to be in such genocidal form that not a few illustrious records seemed certain to be breached.

There was, for starters, Gary Kirsten's World Cup record score of 188 - made, admittedly, against just as innocuous an opposition, the United Arab Emirates, as Namibia. But records are records, a chance to etch one's name in the weighty history books, and had Wishart been given just marginally more strike towards the end of his knock of 172, he may very well have overtaken Kirsten.

Wishart's innings, coming off 151 balls and studded with 18 fours and three sixes, threatened at one stage to even cross the magic 200-run mark. Midway through the Zimbabwe innings, Wishart already had three figures, and he was striking the ball to the fence almost at will, with a nonchalance that one could only admire breathlessly. Bowler after Namibian bowler trundled up to their crease, neophytes all to international cricket, only to be tonked through the covers, over midwicket, or square on either side.

Making just over half of Zimbabwe's final score of 340, Wishart carried his bat through the innings, battling heat and humidity to slam the ball around until the very end. Brushing off the dismissals of Mark Vermeulen - with whom he added 107 for the first wicket - and Andy Flower - his cohort in a stand of 67 - Wishart found the ideal companion in Grant Flower.

Craig Wishart
In fact, if Flower had not been quite so firebrand about his knock of 78 off 55 balls (four fours, two sixes), Wishart may very well have achieved that double-hundred. As it was, he overtook Andy Flower as Zimbabwe's highest scorer, made his own personal best - passing, on the way, his sole one-day hundred- plus score of 102 - in limited-overs cricket.

Wishart's hundred, most importantly, gave Zimbabwe a thumping win over Namibia, as well as four vital points. If England now refuse to play in Harare on Thursday, Zimbabwe must fancy their chances to qualify for the Super Six stage of this World Cup. And perhaps Zimbabwe would have beaten Namibia anyway, but undoubtedly the Wishart knock will give the entire team a much-needed dose of confidence and vim.

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