Friday, July 19, 2024
HomenewsZimbabwe's Luke Jongwe pastes wallpaper icon Angelo Mathews to down Sri Lanka...

Zimbabwe’s Luke Jongwe pastes wallpaper icon Angelo Mathews to down Sri Lanka at the death

Andrew Fidel Fernando

Luke Jongwe hit an unbeaten 25 off just 12 balls  Associated Press

Zimbabwe allrounder Luke Jongwe had Angelo Mathews wallpaper when he was younger (whether this was a physical poster or the background screen on a device wasn’t clear). Mathews was also Jongwe’s social media profile picture for a while.

So what did Jongwe do to thank Mathews for the years of inspiration? He smashed him for six, four, six in the deciding over of a T20I in Mathews’ comeback series, of course. Those consecutive boundaries transformed Zimbabwe’s chances of victory from exceedingly slim when there were 20 needed off the last over, to almost a sure thing, with the requirement down to three off four (Jongwe’s hero had also bowled him a no-ball).

Jongwe was also dropped off the bowling of Mathews before the match ended, with Zimbabwe sealing victory off the penultimate ball. This was the third tight finish of the tour, but Zimbabwe’s first win.

“Over the past few months I’ve been in situations where I could have won games for my country, and even for my franchise back home, and I couldn’t do it,” Jongwe said after the game. “I got close, but couldn’t cross the line. Doing it against Sri Lanka, considering Angelo was one of my role models growing up, is even better. That’s special.

“He used to be my wallpaper when I was a kid. He was still using Gray-Nicolls gear at that time. I was still a youngster. On Facebook at one point he was my profile picture. There’s too much happening for me today. There are a lot of emotions. I’m just grateful to God.”

Jongwe had bided his time at the crease, awaiting that over from an allrounder that he knew Sri Lanka needed to deliver. He had come to the crease in the 17th over, and struck one four in his first seven balls. But with the frontline bowlers having only two overs left, he knew there would be easier runs on offer later.

“I knew they needed one over from someone, because Chameera was done and Madushanka was done. I told myself I wasn’t going to take a risk against them, and wait until the last over, and give myself the best chance.

“I think 20 runs was a lot to be honest. The wicket got better to bat on – Sri Lanka had been 25 for 4, and we were looking to restrict them to 140. But when we bowled in the death – I bowled in the death as well – we talked afterwards and thought that something had changed in the wicket. The ball was starting to come on to the bat nicely. We knew we just need to keep wickets intact and build partnerships to try and get our team over the line.”

Andrew Fidel Fernando is a writer at ESPNcricinfo. @afidelf

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