West Indies and Zimbabwe pick up easy wins over USA and Nepal
Zimbabwe got off to a cracking start in their 2023 ICC World Cup Qualifiers as they beat Nepal by 8 wickets at the Harare Sports Club while two-time champions West Indies defeated the USA by 39 runs to start off on a winning note.
Match 1: Zimbabwe vs Nepal
Chasing 291, the hosts won the contest with 35 balls to spare courtesy of Craig Ervine’s 121 off 128 deliveries. Ervine and Williams made the most of the pitch that had little to support the bowlers by posting an unbeaten partnership of 164 runs off just 125 deliveries. The two left-handers didn’t show any mercy on the Nepalese bowlers as the likes of Sandeep Lamichhane and Gulsan Jha conceded at an economy of more than 7.
Joylord Gumbie started strongly on the powerplay as he struck five boundaries before being rapped on the pads by Sompal Kami at 25. Madhevere played the role of an anchor while Ervine pounced on anything loose. The two were quick to rotate the strike as well and never allowed Nepal to settle down.
While Madhevere got out at 32, Ervine found a new partner in the form of Williams. Nepal tried eight different bowlers to break the partnership but their efforts bore no fruits. Ervine completed his century with a brilliant cover drive while Williams looked eager to complete his century. Having notched his fifty at just 41 balls, Williams completed his ton with a slash towards wide long off.
Earlier in the first innings, Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh struck a partnership of 171 runs for the first wicket. The duo looked merciless but Wellington Masakadza got both their wickets in a span of two overs. Kushal Malla and Rohit Paudel played some noteworthy strokes in the middle after their departure. However, the Nepalese middle and lower order crumbled like a pack of cards in the last seven overs.
Richard Ngarava picked up four wickets with his sublime death bowling skills while Muzarabani and Chatara bagged one each. Nepal stared at a score of 290 on the board, knowing well that it was much short of a winning total.
Zimbabwe will square off against the Netherlands on Tuesday and will be raring to pick up one more win in front of their fans. Nepal will have to buckle up when they take on the USA on the same day.
Match 2: West Indies vs USA
Chasing 298, the USA fell short by 39 runs in their opening match of the 2023 ICC World Cup Qualifiers against West Indies at the Takashinga Cricket Club. The USA got off to a shaky start in the second innings as they lost five wickets after posting only 97 runs on the board.
The likes of Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, and Akeal Hosein kept things quiet by keeping their economy under 5 per over. It left the likes of Shayan Jahangir, Nosthush Kenjige, and Gajanand Singh too much to do in the final 30 overs and the inexperience of the American players didn’t help either.
USA played too cautiously and the required run rate kept on climbing. Although Gajanand completed his century, his lack of aggression always kept West Indies in the touching distance of a win.
West Indies also had a dismal start to the match with Brandon King and Kyle Mayers going out at 0 and 2 respectively. Shai Hope and Johnson Charles put up 115 runs on the board for the third wicket before Hope got out at 54. Charles departed in the next over but Nicholas Pooran and Roston Chase’s 55-run partnership put West Indies in the driver’s seat again.
Jason Holder’s cameo of 56 off 40 deliveries in the final 15 overs helped West Indies to go near the 300-run mark. Although West Indies fell short by 3 runs, they will be content with the victory.
A test against Nepal awaits for West Indies on Thursday as they look to maraud over their opponents and punch their ticket to the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.