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Zimbabwe move one step closer to World Cup qualification

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ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023.

Khel Today Bureau
New Delhi: A second successive century from Sean Williams fired Zimbabwe to an opening victory in the Super Six at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023.

In their first match in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe carried the form they showed in Group A to beat Oman by 14 runs, with Williams continuing his rich vein of form.

After winning four from four in the group stages, the hosts are now up to six points in the Super Six thanks to their four points carried over and a further two picked up at the Queens Sports Club.

Oman battled hard, with a century from Kashyap Prajapati, but could never quite keep up with the rate as they tried to chase a target of 333.

Williams brings up century number three

In five innings at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023, Sean Williams has notched three centuries and a 91, and he was at it once again to take down Oman.

A brilliant 142 from 103 balls set the platform for Zimbabwe to make 332 for seven after being put into bat on their way to a 14-run victory.

Williams came to the crease after skipper Craig Ervine (21) was bowled by Kaleemullah (1/39), with Joylord Gumbie (25) following shortly afterwards to Fayyaz Butt (4/79) to leave Zimbabwe 48 for two.

A 64-run stand with Wessly Madhevere (23) started the rebuild, and Williams and Sikandar Raza (42) then added 112 for the fourth wicket to lay the foundations for a huge score.

Fayyaz removed both set batters, either side of trapping Ryan Burl (13) leg before, but Zimbabwe were still looking good on 276 for six with five overs remaining.

And some big hitting from Luke Jongwe carried them to an even bigger total, needing just 28 balls to crash an unbeaten 43 – a knock that proved crucial in the end.

Kashyap Prajapati batted with intent from the off, dominating an opening stand of 29 before Jatinder Singh fell having contributed just two.

That brought Aqib Ilyas to the crease, and with Kashyap taking the initiative, the pair added 83. Raza had Aqib caught behind for 45, before a 44-run stand with Zeeshan Maqsood ended when the skipper was forced to retire hurt having injured his hamstring while going for a sweep.

With the required rate rising, it felt like Kashyap would need to stay until the end but a stunning catch from Raza off Blessing Muzarabani ended his knock on 103 from just 97 balls.

That left Oman needing 142 from 15 overs, a task made trickier when Richard Ngarava removed Shoaib Khan caught and bowled for 11.

Ayaan Khan was not going to go down without a fight though, and smashed 47 off just 43 deliveries before he was caught in the deep off Muzarabani in the 45th over.

Kaleemullah then followed, caught on the boundary by Jongwe with a juggling attempt where he twice had to toss the ball into the air as he stepped over the rope before completing the remarkable catch.

Mohammad Nadeem (30*) gave it his all to take Oman to a famous victory but when they needed 29 off the final over, their race was all but run.

Zeeshan (37) returned and smashed a six and a four off that last over, taking Oman to their highest ODI score, but they finished 14 runs short as he fell off the final ball.

Sri Lanka look to match Zimbabwe efforts

Sri Lanka will seek to emulate Zimbabwe in their opening game of the Super Six, when they take on the Netherlands in Bulawayo.

Four comfortable wins in as many matches have put the 1996 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup champions in prime position to finish in the top two, but they will have to be at their best against the Dutch.

Logan van Beek’s heroics against the West Indies, including 30 runs in the Super Over, gave the Netherlands real hope of qualifying for the World Cup, but they will know an opening win against Sri Lanka will be crucial to their hopes.

Meanwhile, in Harare, the Play-offs get underway with Ireland looking to build on their first win against the United Arab Emirates when they take on the USA.

Scores in brief
Zimbabwe beat Oman at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo by X runs
Zimbabwe 332/7 in 50 overs (Sean Williams 142, Luke Jongwe 43*; Fayyaz Butt 4/79, Kaleemullah 1/39)
Oman 318/9 in 50 overs (Kashyap Prajapati 103, Ayaan Khan 47, Aqib Ilyas 45; Blessing Muzarabani 3/57, Tendai Chatara 3/73)

Friday 30 June – Fixtures
Super Six
Netherlands v Sri Lanka at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo

Ireland v USA at Takashinga Cricket Club, Harare

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