Richmond Mutumbami played the anchor role in Zimbabwe’s six-wicket win, with a career-best 74, against Afghanistan in the third ODI for a 2-1 lead. The fifty and the win didn’t come easy for Zimbabwe. Mutumbami was dropped twice – on 36 and 68 – and the hosts’ middle order stuttered fleetingly before captain Elton Chigumbura steered them home in the last over.
“Maybe they can say it was my day, it was my lucky day,” Mutumbami said cheerfully about the drops. “I just kept telling myself that I should keep going on and see where I get to. Every win is important for the team, I actually feel great about it.”
Mutumbami came back to the Zimbabwe squad only recently, in place of Regis Chakabva, after he was dropped for the home series against New Zealand in August. A poor run of scores from Chakabva helped him back into the side, and Mutumbami started the series with scores of 30 and 35, before bringing up his third ODI fifty today.
When asked if one could expect more match-winning performances from him, Mutumbami said: “Yes, I’m sure they are coming. I’m sure more such performances are on their way.
“We had to bounce back and today the guys showed good character and I thought we played good cricket. The guys were calm out there and they executed their skills better than the last game, so hopefully we can do the same thing on Thursday. There’s one or two things that we can improve as well like in any game there’s always one or two mistakes that you do.”
When Mutumbami was dismissed in the 29th over, Zimbabwe were still 107 runs away from their target. Chigumbura took them over the line with an unbeaten 49, and he was not unhappy about not reaching a fifty.
“Obviously the team comes first,” Chigumbura said. “It’s good to have a win under our belt, at the end of the day that’s what you’d be looking for. Obviously, personal achievements can come after [that].
“The way the foundation was set by Richmond and Sean [Williams] out there, it was good. Hopefully we can carry on with the good things that were done today and do the same thing on Thursday.”
Chigumbura has not won a toss even once in the series and said he would rather focus on the things he can control, such as his team’s performance on the field.
“I’m not really worried about the toss, it’s about how we go out there and execute our skills,” he said. “Obviously it’s one game at a time, it’s going to be important to win the series on Thursday and obviously finish well.”
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.