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Zimbabwe cricket team

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Zimbabwe cricket team

Test status acquired
First Test match v India India at Harare Sports Club, Harare, 18–22 October 1992
Captain Brendan Taylor

Andy Waller

Official ICC Test, ODI and T20I ranking N/A (Test)
11th (ODI) [1]
Test matches
– This year
Last Test match

vs Bangladesh Bangladesh at Harare, Zimbabwe, 25–29 April

– This year
As of 22 May 2013

The Zimbabwean cricket team is a national cricket team representing Zimbabwe. It is administrated by Zimbabwe Cricket (formerly known as the Zimbabwe Cricket Union or ZCU). Zimbabwe is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test and One Day International status.


Before Test status

Main article: History of cricket in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe to 1992
Main article: Rhodesia cricket team

In common with all the other full members of the I.C.C., Zimbabwe had a cricket team before it achieved Test status (disregarding the fact that England and Australia did not achieve Test status, as they in effect invented it with the first-ever Test on 15 March 1877 in Melbourne, Australia).

A brief summary of key moments:

  • Rhodesia was represented in the South African tournament, the Currie Cup, between the wars, and then again from 1946.
  • Following independence in 1980, the country began to play more international cricket.
  • On 21 July 1981, Zimbabwe was elected an associate member of the ICC.
  • Zimbabwe then participated in the 1983 Cricket World Cup, as well as the 1987 and 1992 events.[2]

Test status

Zimbabwe played its first Test match in 1992 (against India at Harare resulting in a draw), becoming the ninth Test nation.[3]

Zimbabwe's early Test performances were consistently weak, leading to suggestions that they had been granted Test status prematurely. In the one-day arena, however, the team soon became competitive, if not particularly strong. In particular, world respect was gained for their fielding ability. After a series of poor Test performances following the resignation of several senior players, the Zimbabwean team was voluntarily suspended from Test cricket in late 2005 by its cricket board, with ICC encouragement.[4]

In August 2011, Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh by 130 runs almost six years after the suspension to regain its status as a Test Nation.[5]


In spite of his team's difficulties, wicket-keeper/batsman Andy Flower was at one point rated the best batsman in world cricket. During this era, Zimbabwe also produced such cricketers as Flower's brother Grant, and allrounders Andy Blignaut and Heath Streak (who was later appointed national captain). Murray Goodwin was also a world-class batsman; following his retirement from international cricket, he has scored heavily for Sussex. Another world-class batsman was David Houghton, who holds the record for the highest individual test score for Zimbabwe of 266 against Sri Lanka in 1994/95. Sometime captain and middle order batsman Alistair Campbell, leg-spinning all rounder Paul Strang, Eddo Brandes, and pace bowler/opener Neil Johnson were other important contributors for Zimbabwe on the world stage at this time.

With the appearance of some quality players, a breakthrough was achieved in levels of performance in the late 1990s where the Zimbabwean team began winning Tests against other nations, which included a series win against Pakistan. Unfortunately, the political situation in Zimbabwe declined at around the same time, which had a detrimental effect on the national team's performances.

Zimbabwe excelled at the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup coming in fifth place in the Super Sixes, only missing out on a semi-final place due to having an inferior net run-rate than New Zealand.

The 2003 World Cup

Increasing politicisation of cricket, including selectorial policy, along with the declining situation in Zimbabwe disrupted the 2003 Cricket World Cup, which was jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and South Africa.

England forfeited a match scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe, risking their own progress through the competition, citing "security concerns" as their reason.

Zimbabwean players Andy Flower and fast bowler Henry Olonga wore black armbands, for "mourning the death of democracy" in Zimbabwe. Both were immediately dismissed from the team and applied for political asylum overseas. This public political protest caused considerable embarrassment to the co-hosts and disrupted team harmony.[6] [7]

Since the 2003 World Cup, with a succession of Zimbabwe's best players ending their international careers early, a new side began to develop, featuring the likes of Travis Friend, Andy Blignaut, Hamilton Masakadza, Douglas Hondo, Craig Wishart, Ray Price, Sean Ervine, Mark Vermeulen, Tatenda Taibu, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Dougie Marillier, and Barney Rogers. Whilst not of the same calibre of Streak, Goodwin, and the Flower brothers, this new breed of predominantly multi-disciplined players formed a solid backbone to a competitive, if usually unsuccessful, side.

In late 2003, Zimbabwe toured Australia in a two-match series. The series was more memorable for Australian opener Matthew Hayden's innings in the first Test – in which he overcame a back strain to score a then record 380 runs – than for the Zimbabwean performance.[8]

The Streak affair

In 2004, captain Heath Streak was sacked by the ZCU (now Zimbabwe Cricket), prompting a walkout by 14 other players in protest against political influence in the team's management and selection policies. A scheduled tour by Sri Lanka went ahead, but this was a lopsided affair, with Zimbabwe represented by fringe players who were not of international standard.[9] [10]

Because of this, the ZCU accepted that Zimbabwe were to play no further Test cricket in 2004, though its status as a Test nation was unaffected.[11]

In early 2005, Heath Streak was reinstated into the national side, but the political situation in Zimbabwe involving Operation Murambatsvina disrupted the Zimbabwean team. During overseas tours, the players were often said to be buying necessities which were unavailable – or prohibitively expensive – at home, as opposed to the souvenirs which other touring teams would purchase.

In 2005 an agreement was signed which led to the return of many of the rebels to the Zimbabwe side.[12] However, results failed to improve as in March Zimbabwe lost both their Tests on tour against South Africa by an innings. Worse was to follow in August, when they were crushed on home soil by New Zealand, in a match that was completed in just two days, instead of the usual five. In the process, Zimbabwe were humiliated; they became only the second side in Test history (after India in 1952) to be bowled out twice in the space of one day. Then they lost both their tests to India at home later in September. After the series against India, Streak announced his retirement from international cricket, dealing yet another blow to the beleaguered team.

By November 2005, the players were once again in dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket over political interference in the management of the game as well as contract negotiations, and the new captain, Tatenda Taibu, resigned from international cricket. By then the team had been further weakened by the departure of the likes of Dougie Marillier, Craig Wishart and Sean Ervine, all of whom retired in protest and expressed disillusionment in the local cricket hierarchy.

By January 2006, 37 Zimbabwean cricketers had failed to receive any offer of renegotiation talks from Zimbabwe Cricket after their contracts with the board had expired. This body of players demanded that the chairman and managing director of Zimbabwe cricket, Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute, be removed from office for there to be any hope for the players to return to the international stage.

On 6 January 2006, the Sports and Recreation Commission, a division of the Zimbabwean government, took over the offices of Zimbabwe Cricket. The apparent takeover has resulted in the firing of all whites and Asians among the board directors, because of "their racial connotations and saving their own agendas and not government policy" according to Gibson Mashingaidze, an army brigadier and chairman of the government's Sports and Recreation Commission.

An interim board was appointed as the new leading party of cricket in Zimbabwe, with Peter Chingoka appointed as the committee's head. Given Chingoka's close ties to Bvute, it is likely that the latter will continue in his post as well.

Self-imposed international suspension

On 18 January 2006, Zimbabwe Cricket announced that they were suspending the playing of Test cricket for the rest of the year.[13] Zimbabwe's coach Kevin Curran said that Zimbabwe were aiming to play their next Test against the West Indies in November 2007.[14] It is currently felt by observers that the Zimbabwean national team is not of sufficient Test standard, and that competing against Full Member sides would do little to improve standards, given the likely one-sided nature of the games. Bangladesh, for a long time seen as the 'whipping boys' of Test cricket, recorded their first win against Zimbabwe, and are now generally regarded as being of a superior standard. On 8 August 2011, Zimbabwe recorded a resounding victory in the one test match series over Bangladesh, played in Harare.

Domestically, the Logan Cup – Zimbabwe's first class competition played amongst the provinces – was cancelled in 2006 for the first time since its inception over a century ago (though the Cup was not played during some of the years of the World Wars). This was widely seen as due to concern by ZC that the standard of play would be so poor as to be both not worthwhile and potentially harmful to the external image of cricket in Zimbabwe. The one-day trophy, the Faithwear Cup, was contested, and drew complaints from observers that the quality was less than club level. As well as player exodus, the main reason for this catastrophic fall in standards was put down to wrangling within Zimbabwe Cricket, where internal politics motivated the removal of the historic provinces and their replacement with revamped, newly designated provincial teams. Zimbabwe's economic collapse led to scanty attendance at games and players not receiving their salaries for long periods of time.

In a further harmful incident, ex-player Mark Vermeulen was arrested after attempting to burn down ZC's offices, and successfully destroying the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy's premises. In a nation in increasing social and economic turmoil, such facilities are hard to replace, and their loss has proven difficult to manage for a cricket administration already short of top quality facilities.

2007 Cricket World Cup

In the period coming up to the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, and to stop a similar exodus of players after the 2003 World Cup, the selected players were asked to sign a new contract. The players were summoned to meet Ozias Bvute, Zimbabwe Cricket's managing director, a week or so before they were due to set off and given an ultimatum – sign the contract on offer or be removed from the squad. It is understood that they were not allowed to take advice and were told they had to make the decision there and then.

One player told his team-mates that there were certain things contained in the contracts that needed clarification. He was summoned back into Bvute's office and warned that it was a take-it-or-leave-it offer: this player was later revealed to be Anthony Ireland.[15] Another said that when he told Bvute he wanted to consult with friends, Bvute picked up the phone and called Kenyon Ziehl, the head of selection, and told him he wanted the player replaced in the squad. Unsurprisingly, the player backed down and signed.

In light of the poor state of Zimbabwe's finances, and that Zimbabwe Cricket had to borrow around US$1 million in early 2007 pending receipt of monies from the World Cup to help them over an ongoing cash crisis, the board agreed to pay match fees in US dollars. The players are being paid US$2000 per appearance and a series of US$500 bonuses based on wickets taken and fifties scored. The maximum payment was believed to be capped at around US$8000. However, fees will not be paid until June 2007 to stop the exodus and help cash flow.[16]

The spectre of continued problems with the ZC board has influenced some players to cut their losses and seek to finish their careers abroad: Ireland accepted a contract to play for Gloucestershire during 2007, while opener Vusi Sibanda also left. More are thought to be considering following suit.

Twenty20 World Championship

Zimbabwe upset Australia in its opening match of the Twenty20 World Championship in Cape Town, defeating them by 5 wickets. Brendan Taylor led the way for Zimbabwe, with first class wicket keeping (a catch, stumping and run out) and a crucial unbeaten 60 from 45 deliveries. He was man of the match. They then lost to England by 50 runs, meaning they exited the tournament at the first stage due to their net run rate being inferior to both Australia and England after Australia beat England in the other group game.

2007–2008 season

There was more encouraging news in October 2007, when it was announced that Zimbabwe would compete in all three domestic competitions in South Africa as part of Cricket South Africa's attempts to improve the standard of cricket in Zimbabwe. [2] However, their participation in the above competitions was thrown into doubt when the plans were postponed pending a Cricket South Africa board meeting.[17] A compromise was reached in late November, meaning Zimbabwe will take part in the MTN Domestic Championship and the Standard Bank Pro 20 Series, but not the SuperSport Series as originally planned.[18] Instead, they played three first-class four-day games against a South African Composite XI made up of franchise and provincial players. The three games, in Paarl, Potchefstroom, and Kimberley were all won by Zimbabwe.[19]

In between those games, they played a five match One Day International series against the West Indies, scoring an upset win in the opening match[20] before losing the series 3–1. The final match was abandoned due to rain.[21]

ICC World Cup 2011 and return to Test cricket

Zimbabwe started their World Cup campaign with a 91 run defeat by Australia at Ahmadabad on 21 February 2011. They then recorded a comfortable victory over Canada, before losing by 10 wickets to New Zealand on 4 March 2011. Further heavy defeats by Sri Lanka and Pakistan followed, before a consolation victory over Kenya was achieved in Zimbabwe's final game of the tournament. After these defeats, opening batsman Brendan Taylor was announced as captain of all formats on 24 June 2011, replacing Elton Chigumbura.

Zimbabwe returned to test match cricket on 4 August 2011, after a six-year exile. They hosted Bangladesh in a one-off test match at Harare. The national team's re-introduction to Test cricket was successful, as they beat Bangladesh by 130 runs.[5]

Return to Test Cricket

As part of the lead-up to their Test return, Zimbabwe Cricket announced major upgrades to the Harare Sports Club and Mutare Sports Club grounds.[22] Plans for a new Test ground at Victoria Falls were also revealed.[23] ZC also signed a three-year deal with Reebok worth $1mn. The deal will see Reebok sponsor the Domestic competitions and make the kits of the Zimbabwean national cricket team.[24]

Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh

Zimbabwe played their first test match, after regaining their test status, against Bangladesh at the Harare Sports Club in Harare. The only test started on Thursday 4 August 2011. Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field first. Zimbabwe won the test on day five by 130 runs.

Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
370 all out
Hamilton Masakadza 104 runs (244)
Shakib Al Hasan 3/62 (26 overs)
287 all out
Mohammad Ashraful 73 runs (158)
Brian Vitori 4/66 (24 overs)
291/5 (dec)
Brendan Taylor 105* runs (175)
Shafiul Islam 1/29 (11 overs)
244 all out
Abdur Razzak 43 runs (17)
Kyle Jarvis 4/61 (16.3 overs)
Zimbabwe won by 130 runs
Harare Sports Club, Harare
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena Sri Lanka
Bruce Oxenford Australia
Player of the match: Brendan Taylor Zimbabwe
  • Bangladesh, who chose to field
  • Zimbabwe won the one-off match

ODI win vs New Zealand

Zimbabwe were thrashed in all the formats by Pakistan. After this they played a home series with New Zealand. They were defeated 2–0 in the Twenty20 series, and New Zealand were 2–0 up in the ODI series. The final ODI was being played at the Queen's Sports Club, Bulawayo. They were at a 12-match losing streak at that time.

Furthermore, when batting first, New Zealand scored 328 in 50 overs, nobody gave Zimbabwe a chance of winning. The Zimbabweans have never chased an ODI total in excess of 300 before. However, they did it successfully for the first time in their history.

Zimbabwe's main aim in the innings break was to lose with dignity. When opener Vusi Sibanda was out for a duck, even that seemed to be a tall order, but skipper Brendan Taylor changed the entire complexion of the match. Taylor scored a brilliant 75 before he was dismissed fresh from the centuries he scored from the last games.

After Taylor's dismissal, Tatenda Taibu's speedy fifty kept Zimbabwe in the hunt. However, the match-changing partnership was between the two all-rounders Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura. Waller played one of the greatest innings in ODI history as he scored 99*. In the end, he even did not think of his century but to just take his team over the line. His selflessness brought about for Zimbabwe a much-needed victory. His partner Chigumbura scored a brisk 47 and was quite unlucky to miss out on his half-century, bowled by Jacob Oram after he along with Waller had taken the equation below a run a ball. When Keegan Meth was bowled two balls later for a duck, Waller kept his cool as he marshalled the middle order efficiently, assisted by a six by debutant Natsai Mushangwe, and then enough support by Ray Price brought the scores level. After Price was dismissed (caught), it was the last wicket Zimbabwe had and the new man in was another debutant Njabulo Ncube. Waller is said to have advised him, "'No matter what happens, if I get bat on ball, let's take the run.' And the run they did take, thereby recording a legendary victory for Zimbabwe. According to an interview later, Waller said that he was thinking of a swing and get the ball over the ground so that both his team could win and he could get a century, but later he though that he would rather take the team home rather than get 100,". Waller was the Man of the Match for his spectacular performance, while Brendan Taylor was Man of the Series.[25][26][27]

25 October
New Zealand 
328/5 (50 overs)
329/9 (49.5 overs)
Ross Taylor 119 (126)
Njabulo Ncube 3/69 (8.5 overs)
Malcolm Waller 99* (74)
Jacob Oram 3/44 (9.5 overs)
Zimbabwe won by 1 wicket
Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Umpires: Owen Chriombe (Zim) and Bruce Oxenford (Aus)
Player of the match: Malcolm Waller (Zim)
  • New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat
  • Brendan Taylor got the Man of the Series Award.
  • Despite this victory, Zimbabwe lost the series 2–1.

T20 Triangular Series Win against South Africa and Bangladesh

In June 2012, Zimbabwe beat South Africa in a t20 match of an unofficial triangular T20 tournament where Bangladesh national cricket team also featured. This was the 3rd match of the tournament. They beat South Africa by 29 runs. They also had beaten Bangladesh in the first match of that tournament by 10 runs. In the 3rd match against South Africa, although there were no AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis, the South Africa team were very much strong. Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza opened the innings and scored 58 and 55 respectively. The wicket keeper captain Brendan Taylor scored a quickfire 38 from 21 balls in the end. They scored 176/4 in 20 overs. Coming to chase, South African batsmen Richard Levi and Colin Ingram scored 40 and 48 respectively. But the other batsmen struggle to make it and went all out on 147 within 19.2 overs. Christopher Mpofu took 3 for 20. In the next meetings with South Africa and Bangladesh, Zimbabwe lost both of the matches and ended in the same points as those of South Africa and Bangladesh. Due to better net run rates, Zimbabwe and South Africa progressed to the final. On 24 June 2012, in the final match, South Africa batted first and scored 146 runs with the loss of 6 wickets in 20 overs. While an early collapse occurred in their innings, South Africa managed to get back with a fair score as Faf du Plessis scored 66 off 57 balls and Albie Morkel scored a quickfire 34 not out off 23 balls. Kyle Jarvis of Zimbabwe took 2 wickets for 22 runs. coming out to chase, Zimbabwe started well but Vusi Sibanda went out on 24 off 16. But then the captain Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza well built the innings scoring 59 not out and 58 not out respectively. They took Zimbabwe to victory as they scored 150 for the loss of 1 wicket in 17.1 overs. Zimbabwe won by 9 wickets and clinched the T20 series in front of a full house packed with native Zimbabwean crowd at the Harare Sports Club ground. Once it was said that cricket is the game only of the white people in Zimbabwe. But the scenario has changed. Now its no doubt that cricket has touched the hearts of all the Zimbabwean people. Brendan Taylor was the man of the match and Hamilton Masakadza got the man of the series award.

Current squad

Name Age Batting style Bowling style ODI matches Test matches S/N
Captain and Middle Order Batsman
Brendan Taylor 28 Right-handed OB 123 11 1
Vice-Captain and Middle Order Batsman
Hamilton Masakadza 30 Right-handed RM 107 16 3
Opening Batsmen
Chamunorwa Chibhabha 29 Right-handed RM 43 33
Vusimuzi Sibanda 30 Right-handed RM 92 4 10
Tinotenda Mawoyo 27 Right-handed RMF 2 1
Middle Order Batsmen
Charles Coventry 30 Right-handed OB 37 2 74
Malcolm Waller 29 Right-handed OB 16 9
Cephas Zhuwao 29 Right-handed OB 1 2
Craig Ervine 28 Left-handed OB 23 1 77
Elton Chigumbura 27 Right-handed RMF 133 7 47
Keith Dabengwa 33 Left-handed SLA 32 3 17
Stuart Matsikenyeri 31 Right-handed OB 92 8 45
Sean Williams 27 Right-handed SLA 47 14
Greg Lamb 33 Right-handed OB 14 19
Keegan Meth 25 Right-handed RMF 8 11
Regis Chakabva 26 Right-handed OB 1 5
Friday Kasteni 25 Left-handed LS 3 10
Forster Mutizwa 28 Right-handed OB 14 66
Pace Bowlers
Chris Mpofu 28 Right-handed RM 58 7 28
Kyle Jarvis 24 Right-handed RF 11 1 8
Tawanda Mupariwa 28 Right-handed RFM 35 1 53
Brian Vitori 23 Left-handed LFM 3 1 60
Ed Rainsford 29 Right-handed RFM 35 23
Njabulo Ncube 24 Right-handed RFM 1 0
Spin Bowlers
Prosper Utseya 28 Right-handed OB 132 1 52
Ray Price 37 Right-handed SLA 93 19 7
Graeme Cremer 27 Right-handed LB 43 6 30
Timycen Maruma 25 Right-handed LB 8 65
Natsai Mushangwe 22 Right-handed LB 1 0

Notable players

Players are included here because of outstanding achievement or other prominence/notoriety. For a fuller list of Zimbabwean cricketers, see Category:Zimbabwean cricketers.

  • Eddo Brandes – Known for his famous insult said to Glenn McGrath, oldest player to have taken an ODI hat-trick.
  • Alistair Campbell – Former captain and opening batsman.
  • Charles Coventry – Third highest individual scorer in One-Day International match (194*).
  • Kevin Curran – Former all-rounder and Zimbabwe coach (2005–2007).
  • Sean Ervine – elder brother of Craig. Currently plays for Hampshire County Cricket Club.
  • Andy FlowerWicket-keeper batsman and black arm-band demonstrator. Once ranked as top batsman in Test cricket, former captain, now England coach.
  • Grant Flower – Also played county cricket for Leicestershire and Essex, the latter alongside elder brother Andy. Batting coach for Zimbabwe following retirement.
  • Neil Johnson – Born in Salisbury (now Harare). An allrounder, opened both the batting and bowling for his country in 1999 World Cup. He won three Man-of-the-Match awards and was influential in Zimbabwe's qualification to the Super 6 stage of the tournament.
  • Murray Goodwin – Born in Salisbury (now Harare), he began his career with Western Australia in 1994. Currently plays for Glamorgan County Cricket Club and has acquired 67 first-class hundreds.
  • Graeme Hick – Member of 1983 World Cup Squad aged seventeen and represented Zimbabwe until 1986. Qualified for England and played international cricket from 1991 to 2000/01. Worcestershire County Cricket Club legend, for whom he compiled 106 of his 136 first-class hundreds.
  • David Houghton – Former Captain, has the highest individual Test score for Zimbabwe (266).
  • Anthony Ireland – retired post-2007 Cricket World Cup, currently plays in English county cricket.[28]
  • Henry Olonga – Quick bowler, musician and black arm-band demonstrator.
  • Trevor Penney – Represented Zimbabwe before becoming a Warwickshire County Cricket Club stalwart from 1992 to 2005. Since retirement, his employment as fielding coach (an art in which he excelled) has been much sought-after, currently assisting the Indian national team.
  • Paul Strang – elder brother of Bryan. Spin bowler and all rounder, instrumental in Zimbabwe's rise in the mid-late 1990s, current coach of the Auckland Aces.
  • Heath Streak – Former captain and leading wicket taker for Zimbabwe in both Test and ODI cricket.
  • Tatenda Taibu – Talented Wicket-keeper batsman and also Zimbabwe's first black/youngest captain.
  • Brendan Taylor – Regarded as one of Zimbabwe's few current international class players, current captain, became the first Zimbabwean batsman to hit back-to-back One Day International centuries and the first batsman to score more than 300 runs in a three-match ODI series.
  • John Traicos – Born in Egypt of Greek descent, represented South Africa in 1970 before excommunication. Accurate off-spin bowler who broke records for longevity of Test career when Zimbabwe debuted in 1992. Popular in quizzes – representing two countries in internationals but born in neither.
  • Guy Whittall – cousin of Andy Whittall. All-rounder and former Captain.

Tournament history

World Cup

  • 1975: Not eligible – not an ICC member
  • 1979: Not eligible – not an ICC member
  • 1983: First round
  • 1987: First round
  • 1992: 9th place
  • 1996: First round
  • 1999: 5th place
  • 2003: 6th place
  • 2007: First round
  • 2011: First round

ICC Champions Trophy

  • 1998: First round
  • 2000: quarter-finals
  • 2002: First round
  • 2004: First round
  • 2006: 10th place
  • 2009 : not eligible (Only top 8 teams participated)
  • 2013 : not eligible (Only top 8 teams participated)

ICC World Twenty20

Commonwealth Games

ICC Trophy

  • 1979: Not eligible – not an ICC member
  • 1982: Won
  • 1986: Won
  • 1990: Won
  • 1994 onwards: Not eligible – ICC Full member


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