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CWC Qualifier Day 1 Report: Williams-Ervine thrash Nepal; Windies beat USA

Craig Ervine and Sean Williams hit centuries as Zimbabwe chased down 290 against Nepal. West Indies won by 39 runs even as US' Gajanand Singh hit a century against the country of his origin

Zimbabwe's Craig Ervine and Sean Williams hit centuries as the hosts beat Nepal by 8 wickets in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023. Photo: Zimbabwe Cricket

Zimbabwe's Craig Ervine and Sean Williams hit centuries as the hosts beat Nepal by 8 wickets in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023. Photo: Zimbabwe Cricket

Abhishek Singh New Delhi

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It was fireworks on Day 1 of the Cricket World Cup Qualifier as a packed Harare Sports Club witnessed the hosts Zimbabwe chase down 291 against Nepal to win by 8 wickets. In another game, played a few kilometres away at the Takashinga Sports Club in Harare, West Indies didn’t break much sweat to beat the United States of America by 39 runs. Both games were part of group A, which comprises five teams. 

Bhurtel: Makes the best of the dropped chance, take Nepal to 290

Winning the toss and electing to field first, Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine would have hoped to get early breakthroughs from his fast bowlers. Richard Ngarava gave the Chevrons an opportunity early on, but Bhurtel was dropped by Sikandar Raza for 1. 

The 26-year-old Nepali batter made the Zimbabweans pay big time for that drop as he hit 99 off just 95 balls to take Nepal to a huge total of 290. Had Bhurtel stayed a little more at the crease, Nepal would have crossed 300. Along with him, Aasif Sheikh (66), Kushal Malla (41) and skipper Rohit Paudel (31) scored crucial runs. 

Ervine and Williams: Veterans do it for Zimbabwe

It's never easy to chase down 291 no matter how flat the wicket might be. With the pressure of nearly 10,000 people in the stadium and hundreds of thousands outside pinning their hopes on you, chasing a target becomes even more difficult. Special talent is required to scale such mountains and when it mattered the most, two of Zimbabwe’s most prolific left-handers- Craig Ervine and Sean Williams rose to the occasion. 

The duo added an unbeaten 164, the third-highest third-wicket partnership in ODIs for Zimbabwe. They went on to record individual hundreds as Nepal bowlers looked hapless. Sandeep Lamichhane, the best Nepalese spinner was never allowed to settle by the Zimbabwean duo. 

Ervine reached his fourth ODI century when Williams was playing on 56 and Zimbabwe needed only 65 more to win. Never giving up hope on scoring a century in his 150th ODI, Williams tore apart the Nepal bowling lineup, collecting his last 46 runs in only 22 balls to hit a 70-ball century, the fastest for a Zimbabwe batter in ODIs. 

West Indies scored 297 but got all out too

The West Indies were the hot favourites against the USA for the second game of the tournament. They did not bring their A-game to the table and five of their players who got starts, didn’t convert them into big individual scores. As a result, the team from the Caribbean was bowled out, but not without putting a handsome 297 on the board. 

Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Rostin Chase, who replaced injured Yannic Carriah in the playing 11 and veteran Jason Holder scored half-centuries while Nicholas Pooran hit 43 off just 28 balls. For the USA, their former skipper Saurabh Netravalkar, Kyle Phillip and Steven Taylor picked three wickets each and one wicket went to Nosthush Kenjige. 

Gajanand Singh: Hits century against the country of his birth

There is no team for Guyana in international cricket, however it is represented by the West Indies. Gajanand Singh, USA , who was born and brought up in Guyana and represented West Indies at the U-19 level, joined the list of cricketers who have hit an international century against their country of birth while playing for their adopted countries. A few latest names on the list include Eoin Morgan and Usman Khawaja. 

This was the first century by 35-year-old Singh. However, his 101* was not enough as the USA got only 258/7 and lost the game by 39 runs. For the Windies, Alzarri Joseph and Kyle Mayers got two wickets each while Holder and Chase had one each. 

In their next meetings, Nepal would play the USA on June 20 while hosts Zimbabwe would take on the Netherlands on the same day.

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First Published: Jun 19 2023 | 4:25 AM IST

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