The host Zimbabwe has defeated Nepal in the tournament opener of Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023. The home side chased the target of 291 runs in 44.1 overs, losing just two wickets.
Skipper Craig Ervine and Sean Williams were the stars of the chase with a terrific century. Joylord Gumbie and Ervine added 45 runs for the opening wicket before Sompal Kami sent back Gumbie for 25 runs. Ervine then added 82 runs with Wessly Madhevere for the second wicket, who made 32 runs before being dismissed by Gulshan Jha.
Skipper Ervine and Sean Williams then added an unbeaten 164 runs to guide their side home. Ervine who scored 121* runs from 128 balls with 15 fours and 1 six, was adjudged player of the match.
Meanwhile, Williams who was playing his 150th ODI match, scored the fastest-ever ton by a Zimbabwe batter. He made an unbeaten 102 from just 72 balls with 13 fours and 1 six.
Earlier, Nepal posted a decent total of 290 runs which is Nepal’s third-highest total in ODI and highest total outside the home track.
Invited to bat first at Harare Sports Club, Nepalese openers yielded an electrifying start. Aasif Sheikh and Kushal Bhurtel added 171 runs for the first wicket, which is the highest partnership for any wicket in Nepal’s ODI history.
Kushal Bhurtel missed his second ODI century as he was knocked out by Masakadza for 99 in the 32nd over. He smacked 13 fours and two sixes in a 95-ball knock. Aasif Sheikh followed him after a couple of overs, scoring 66 runs from 100 balls with seven boundaries.
Kushal Malla and skipper Rohit Paudel then shared 72 runs for the third wicket before Ngarava sent back Paudel for 29-ball 31. Malla too didn’t last long, as he was dismissed for 41 Chatara. Malla smacked two fours and three sixes from 42 balls.
No Nepalese batters could do any special as they ended 50 overs at 290/8. Nepal managed only 32 runs from the last five overs, losing five wickets in the process.
For Zimbabwe, Richard Ngarava was the pick of a bowler. He picked up four wickets and recorded his best performance in ODI (9-1-43-4). Wellington Masakadza picked up two, while Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani grabbed one each.