Wednesday, February 21, 2024

ODI WC Qualifiers: Zimbabwe beat Oman by 14 runs

A magnificent 142 from veteran Sean Williams led Zimbabwe to a narrow 14-run win over Oman and helped them continue their undefeated run at the Men’s Cricket World Cup qualifiers at the Queens Sports Club, here on Thursday.
Pushed into batting first, Williams hit 14 fours and three sixes in his 103-ball 142 and was supported by 43 not out and 42 from Luke Jongwe and Sikandar Raza to take Zimbabwe to 332/7.
In reply, opener Kashyap Prajapati slammed a superb 103 off 97 balls, taking 12 fours and a six. But captain Zeeshan Maqsood retired hurt mid-way in his innings and from there, Oman played catch-up, and eventually ended up at 318/9.
For Zimbabwe, Blessing Muzarabani bagged three wickets, so was Tendai Chatara, with their fielders also stepping up to support the bowlers. The victory over Oman is also Zimbabwe’s seventh ODI win in a row and the hosts’ now have six points in their tally on the Super Six table.
Earlier, returning skipper Craig Ervine and Joylord Gumbie were tested by the Oman pacers in the first powerplay, with a number of hits-and-misses and close calls, including a dismissal which was overturned on DRS intervention.
Though they managed to survive the first ten overs, Ervine (25) was first to go when was castled by Kaleemullah in the 12th over. Gumbie (21) followed him to the dressing room in the very next over, when his mistimed upper cut was pouched by the keeper off Fayyaz Butt.
Williams, Zimbabwe’s star from their last game, took the lead in run-scoring, joined forces with Wessly Madhevere to take Zimbabwe past 100 in the 21st over. Their enterprising 64-run partnership off 59 balls was finally broken when Maqsood got Madhevere stumped in the 23rd over.
Williams kept going from the other end and reached his half-century in the 25th over. Along with Sikandar Raza, the left-hander helped Zimbabwe pick up their scoring rate. During this stand, Raza reached 4000 ODI runs for Zimbabwe. He achieved this feat in merely 127 innings, becoming the quickest Zimbabwe batter to reach the landmark. The duo added 70 runs between overs 26-35 to help Zimbabwe cross 200. The in-form Williams brought his century in the 38th over, his third hundred of the tournament.
Butt managed to trap Raza lbw in the 39th over, but there was no stopping Williams though, scoring 41 out of the 62 runs that came in his stands with Ryan Burl and Jongwe respectively. Though Williams and Burl fell quickly, Jongwe ensured his fiery 43 not out took Zimbabwe past 330. In reply, opener Jatinder Singh fell to Muzarabani in the fifth over. But Prajapati and Aqib Ilyas ensured that Oman reached an 83-run partnership for the second wicket. Zimbabwe needed a breakthrough before the pair took the game away from them, and Raza provided that by having Ilyas (45) nick one behind the wicket in the 22nd over.
Maqsood then joined Prajapati at the wicket, and helped stabilize the Oman innings. But Maqsood suffered an unfortunate injury when he tried to sweep off Madhevere in the 30th over, and had to leave the field.
Prajapati kept the scoring on from his end, and scored his second ODI hundred in the 34th over, making it the first hundred by an Oman player against a full member nation. But Oman’s chances of winning were severely hit when Prajapati miscued a slog towards the mid-wicket region, where Raza ran backwards and plucked out a spectacular catch.
Backed by an enthusiastic crowd, Zimbabwe strengthened their hold over the game. Though Oman added 77 runs between overs 36-45, they lost three crucial wickets in that period, including Ayaan Khan (47) who fell just short of a fifty.
A brilliant juggling catch on the rope by Jongwe accounted for Kaleemullah in the 46th over and it looked as if Zimbabwe had sealed the game. Oman showed fight in the death stages, but Zimbabwe prevailed, to the delight of their passionate fans.
Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 332/7 in 50 overs (Sean Williams 142, Luke Jongwe 43 not out; Fayyaz Butt 4/49) beat Oman 318/9 in 50 overs (Kashyap Prajapati 103, Ayaan Khan 47; Blessing Muzarabani 3/57, Tendai Chatara 3/73) by 14 runs


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