Zimbabwe upset West Indies on the back of home support; Netherlands make light work of Nepal

Sikandar Raza’s all-round heroics bolstered Zimbabwe to a win over West Indies

Zimbabwe shocked the favorites West Indies with a 35-run victory at the Harare Sports Club to inch closer to booking their spot at the Super Six stages of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2023. Earlier in the day, the Netherlands made light work of Nepal as they chased down a total of 168 runs with more than 20 overs to spare. 

Match 1: Zimbabwe vs West Indies  

Batting first in a pitch tailor-made for batters, Zimbabwe got off to a shaky start. The West Indies bowlers made the most of the overcast conditions to restrict them to a score of 37 by the end of the first ten overs. 

Craig Ervine departed at 47 and added 22 runs more than when he was dropped at 25. West Indies continued to drop chances in the field, with the most notable being one that of Raza, who would go on to score 68 after being given a lifeline at 1. 

The final wicket partnership of Zimbabwe between Muzarabani and Chatara elongated giving them a fighting chance. The duo put 25 runs on the board as Zimbabwe mustered 268 runs on the board. However, Raza knew this was well behind the par score of 300 on the ground. 

West Indies lost Brandon King and Johnson Charles inside the first ten overs but the partnership between Kyle Mayers and Shai Hope almost sealed the win for West Indies. Putting up 64 runs on the board from 67 balls, West Indies were at 110-3. However, they fell towards 180-6 with Hope, Pooran, and Powell falling cheaply. 

The wickets kept on tumbling with Tendai Chatara cleaning up the tail in his three-wicket spell. West Indies were all out for 233 with 32 balls to spare as Zimbabwe lead Group A with three wins from three games.  

Match 2: Nepal vs Netherlands 

Nepal was knocked out from the ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2023 as the Netherlands beat them handsomely in their match on Saturday. Being put to bat first, they were only able to muster 167 runs. 

Aasif Sheikh was gone for a duck while Kushal Bhurtel, Bhim Sarki, and Rohit Paudel scored 27, 22, and 33 runs respectively. The lower middle order fell prey to the short deliveries of the Netherlands bowlers as they failed to breach the 20-run mark. Sandeep Lamicchane played some fearless cricket on his way to 27 but it proved to be too little too late. 

Logan van Beek scalped four wickets while Bas de Leede and Vikramjit had two each to their name. The Netherlands looked set to cruise to a win and their batters didn’t disappoint. 

Max O’Dowd got off to his half-century very quickly

Max O’Dowd and Vikramjit Singh notched 86 runs for the first wicket with the latter playing the role of the anchor. He was ultimately dismissed when Lamichhane trapped him in front of the stumps. Barresi put up only 3 runs on the board but that was barely a blip in the Netherlands’ ambitions of picking up a win. 

O’Dowd missed out on his maiden century by only 10 runs as he amassed runs at a strike rate of 120. Bas de Leede, however, ensured there were no further hiccups as he stayed unbeaten at 41 off 39 deliveries. 

The Netherlands’ win also confirmed Zimbabwe and West Indies’ entry to the Super Six. Nepal and USA will have to head home disappointed and try their best to book their tickets for the 2027 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup.