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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 July, 2003, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
England through to final
Andrew Flintoff guided England to victory with a fine knock
NatWest Series, Bristol: Zimbabwe: 92 all out (24.5 overs) lost to England 95-4 (17.5 overs) by six wickets

England booked a spot in the final of the NatWest Series with a remarkable, if not entirely convincing, win over Zimbabwe.

Michael Vaughan's men will meet South Africa at Lord's on Saturday after they prevailed on a moody Bristol pitch that seam bowlers usually encounter only in their dreams.

After decimating Zimbabwe for just 92 - their lowest score ever against England - England plummeted to 25-4 as Heath Streak threatened to single-handedly cause an upset.

But Streak suffered from a severe lack of support and a no-nonsense Andrew Flintoff, who top-scored for the day with 47 not out, including 21 off one Andy Blignaut over.

Darren Gough earlier led the way with figures of 4-26 as Zimbabwe predictably struggled against the movement of the veteran paceman and his seam colleagues.

NATWEST SERIES TABLE
South Africa P4 W3 L1 NR0 BP1 Pts17 RR0.62
England P5 W2 L2 NR1 BP1 Pts16 RR0.75
Zimbabwe P5 W1 L3 NR1 BP0 Pts9 RR-1.35

Zimbabwe's paltry score fell 22 short of their previous lowest against England, 114 scored three years ago in Manchester.

Only two batsmen reached double figures, and a staggering eight fell to catches in the slip cordon as they dallied aimlessly outside off-stump.

Stuart Matsikenyeri's fighting 26 spared Zimbabwe the embarrassment of the extras column claiming the highest score, and with 16 wides among 24 sundries England did their utmost to boost the total.

England were thankful for winning the toss after they brought Steve Harmison in for his first game in six months, the Durham paceman replacing Ashley Giles to join a five-pronged seam attack.

Darren Gough
Gough's 4-26 highlighted England's effort in the field

Harmison was the one bowler to miss out, but the ripest cherries had already been plucked when he was first given the ball with the visitors seven wickets down after 17 overs.

The first five overs of the day passed without incident before three wickets fell in seven balls.

James Anderson, who bowled six wides, struck first when unimpressive debutant Charles Coventry kept his feet to the floor and was caught at mid-off.

Gough then got in on the act, removing Dion Ebrahim with a brutish bouncer before offering keeper Chris Read a catch via the outside edge of Travis Friend.

The introduction of Richard Johnson brought immediate reward when Tatenda Taibu edged to first slip, where Marcus Trescothick took a nice catch low down.

Read and Gough combined for the third time to remove Grant Flower and Heath Streak as Zimbabwe plummeted to 45-6.

That became 51-6 when Sean Ervine picked out gully fieldsman Rikki Clarke, in the side for Jim Troughton, for a duck.

The introduction of Harmison proved palatable to Matsikenyeri as Zimbabwe enjoyed their only profitable patch of the innings.

Matsikenyeri struck two fours in his 35-ball knock, but he was on his way when Flintoff bowled him to pick up the first of his three wickets that cleaned up the tail.


England: MP Vaughan (capt), ME Trescothick, VS Solanki, R Clarke, A Flintoff, A McGrath, CMW Read (wkt), RL Johnson, SJ Harmison, D Gough, JM Anderson.

Zimbabwe: H H Streak (capt), T Taibu (wkt), C Coventry, D D Ebrahim, T J Friend, G W Flower, S Matsikenyeri, A M Blignaut, S M Ervine, G B Brent, D T Hondo, R Price.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Pat Murphy
"There was nothing wrong with a rock-hard pitch that favoured the bowlers"


Man-of-the-match, England's Andy Flintoff
"The wicket had a bit of pace and movement"


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