HARARE – Zimbabwe won the toss at Harare and chose to take the field on the opening day of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023.
Brilliant hundreds from Craig Ervine and Sean Williams helped Zimbabwe to an eight wicket win over Nepal in the opening encounter of the World Cup Qualifier. Chasing a target of 291 runs, Zimbawbe won with 35 balls to spare.
In pursuit of 291, the Zimbabwe openers began on a positive note. Joylord Gumbie and Craig Ervine added 45 runs, before Gumbie was adjudged lbw off Sompal Kami in the eighth over.
Incoming batter, Wesley Madhevere, then joined forces with Ervine to keep the Zimbabwe chase on track. Together they added 82 runs off 92 balls for the second wicket. However, Nepal struck back in the 24th over, when Gulsan Jha dismissed Madhevere for 32.
At the halfway stage mark, the Chevrons were 131/2, with Ervine unbeaten on 62.
Sean Williams and Ervine then took the attack to the Nepal bowlers, dispatching 77 runs between overs 26-35. Gradually the required rate came under six an over, and Zimbabwe assumed the driver’s seat. Ervine brought up his fourth ODI century in the 38th over.
Only an inspirational act on the field could change the course of game, but that wasn’t to be the case. Williams brought up a ton of his own in the 44th over, with a boundary that equaled the scores. In total, Ervine scored 121* off 128, with 15 fours and a six to his name. Williams hit 102* off 70, with 13 fours and a six.
Earlier today, Zimbabwe skipper Ervine decided to bowl first against Nepal at Harare Sports Club.
An experienced Zimbabwe side banked on their star players, including Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, and Tendai Chatara, to contribute towards a strong showing in their opening encounter.
Nepal, riding high after their recent ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 success, were hoping for their golden run to continue in the qualifier.
After a couple of watchful overs, Nepal openers Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh opened their arms and started looking for runs. The duo made the most of the scoring opportunities in the first half of their innings and got the side to 114 without loss in 25 overs.
Bhurtel took the lead in run-scoring and scored 66 runs off 75 balls in this period. Zimbabwe tried a number of bowling options, including the likes of Williams and Raza, but couldn’t dislodge the pair.
Bhurtel and Aasif picked the scoring rate after this, blasting away 50 runs between the 26-30 over mark. Just when Nepal looked like they were going to take the game away from the tournament hosts, the Chevrons struck back. In the 32nd over, Wellington Masakadza (2/42) yorked Bhurtel for 99. A couple of overs later he accounted for Aasif, who fell for 66.
Despite these two setbacks, Nepal continued at a steady rate at the back of Kushal Malla (41) and Rohit Paudel (31). However, accurate death bowling from Richard Ngrava (4/43) and co. meant that Nepal couldn’t get past 300. They scored 79 runs off their last 10 overs, and finished at 290 for eight.
Source – ICC