Zimbabwe and West Indies in action on Day 1: 2023 CWC Qualifier Day 1 Preview and Prediction

Zimbabwe is all set to host the Men’s World Cup Qualifier 2023

The all-important 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers are set to get officiated from June 18 with two contests taking place per day. The indispensable tournament will see hosts Zimbabwe clash against Nepal in the opener, and two-time champions West Indies cross swords against the United States. 

Ten teams have qualified for the World Cup Qualifiers, which will be staged in Zimbabwe from June 18- July 9. The nations are divided into two halves that are going to rumble against each other in the round-robin format. The top three teams from each group will progress to the Super Six stages, carry their points and face the three advanced units from the other groups to outright the match-up. 

Eventually, the top two ranked sides will progress to the ultimatum of the World Cup which is scheduled in October 2023.

Match 1: Zimbabwe vs Nepal

Talk about match no. 1 of the Qualifier stage, a composed Zimbabwe side welcome a gutsy Nepal team at the Harare Sports Club, Harare. The Chevrons will be led by the usual captain Craig Ervine. The unit comprises experienced names such as Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Blessing Muzarabani, etc. 

When it comes to the batting unit, Innocent Kaia is likely to stare at the top order alongside skipper Ervine and deputy, Williams. Ryan Burl, Wessly Madhevere, and Brad Evans constitute the all-rounder group along with Raza. Meanwhile, Muzarabai and Richard Ngarva are likely to lead the pace unit with either Luke Jongwe or Tendai Chatara making a presence.

In the warm-up fixtures, the men in red defeated Oman by 28 runs in their first assignment and eclipsed Scotland in the next one, chasing a target of 166 with six wickets to spare.

Zimbabwe defeated Scotland in their latest warm-up match

On the flip side, Nepal has transpired into the World Cup Qualifiers on the back of phenomenal performances during the ACC Premier League and ended up as the winners, defeating UAE in the grand final. 

Nepal will be captained by Rohit Paudel who will be accompanied by wicketkeeper-batter Aasif Sheikh and his brother Aarif Sheikh. Sandeep Lamichanne who was once a part of the Delhi Capitals squad during the Indian Premier League has also made it into the squad.

The Asian side is arriving on the back of a win during their recent warm-up fixture against Oman. However, they failed to cross the finishing line against UAE in the other warm-up game. 

For Zimbabwe, Joylord Gumbie is the only uncapped player in the squad and has been selected on the back of strong performances at the domestic level. Milton Shumbha is not a part of the Squad.

Zimbabwe Predicted XI: Joylord Gumbie, Innocent Kaia, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine ©, Sikandar Raza, Wessly Madhevere, Ryan Burl, Brad Evans, Wellington Masakdza, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava

Nepal Predicted XI: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh, Rohit Paudel ©, Kushal Malla, Bhim Sharki, Aarif Sheikh, Gulsan Jha, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sompal Kami, Lalit Rajbanshi, Sandeep Lamichhane

Zimbabwe and Nepal are yet to collide against one another in the ODI format. This will be the first time that the African nation will square off against the Asian unit and the hosts would be looking to start off on a winning note.

Match 2: West Indies vs United States of America

West Indies are yet to be defeated in ODI under Daren Sammy’s coaching manual

The second game on Day 1 of the World Cup Qualifiers will see West Indies lock horns against the United States at the Takashinga Sports Club, Harare. The Windies are the bottom two ranked side in the ODI Super League rankings and therefore are compelled to participate in the Qualifier stages. Meanwhile, the United States emerged as one of the top two teams in the Playoff Qualifier 2023 and progressed to the Qualifiers.

The Men in Maroon will be captained by Shai Hope with Rovman Powell as the deputy. Under the new coaching staff of Daren Sammy, the community has won all the five ODIs they played so far (including two warm-up games). The batting prowess constitutes of Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Shamarh Brookes, Johnson Charles, Keacy Carty and the skipper himself- Hope. 

Talking about the all-rounder department, there are a plethora of names – Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, Romario Shepherd, Roston Chase, and Akeal Hosein. Alzarri Joseph is likely to spearhead the bowling department alongside Keemo Paul with Yannic Cariah being the sole wrist spinner.

On the other hand, the United States will be led by Monaank Patel with Aaron Jones as the vice-captain. They include some interesting individuals who have had a good impact during their journey to the Qualifiers. These include – Saiteja Mukkamalla, Gajanand Singh, Jasdeep Singh, Kyle Philip, Steven Taylor, etc. Ali Khan, the one who was a part of the KKR setup during IPL 2020, will be leading the pace attack for the US. 

US cricketers during the practice sessions ahead of World Cup Qualifier 2023

The American unit arrives on the back of an impressive performance against Ireland in their warm-up game where they notched up over 300 runs but failed to defend. In their latest assignment, Sri Lanka made a mockery of them, steamrolling by a margin of 198 runs.

There is bad news for the island nation as Left-arm finger spinner, Gudakesh Motie, who was a part of the World Cup Qualifier squad has been ruled out due to injury. Big-hitter, Johnson Charles has been named his replacement.

West Indies Predicted XI: Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope ©, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph, Yannic Cariah

United States Predicted XI: Steven Taylor, Sushant Modani, S Reddy Mukkamalla, Monaank Patel ©, Aaron Jones, Gajanand Singh, Shayan Jahangir, Jasdeep Singh, Saurabh Netravalkar, Ali Khan

West Indies and the United States are yet to face off against one another in the 50-over format. This will be the first time that the Island nation will face their somewhat neighbors in this format.