Zimbabwe and the West Indies proved too strong for their associate opponents on Day 1 of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, defeating Nepal and USA, respectively, in comfortable fashion.
Zimbabwe (291/2, 44.1 overs) defeated Nepal (290/8, 50 overs) by 8 wickets.
Nepal’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier campaign got off to a solid start despite defeat at the hands of hosts Zimbabwe. Asked to bat first at Harare Sports Club, the Rhinos got off to a highly positive start, losing no wickets against Zimbabwe’s opening burst of seam. Of the opening partnertship, Kushal Bhurtel was the aggressor, batting superbly only to be bowled for 99 off 95 balls by Masakadza in the 32nd over. By this point Nepal had already raised 171 runs.
Asif Sheikh was the more watchful opener, scoring 66 off 100 balls, but when he fell to Masakadza two overs later, both of Nepal’s set batters were back in the pavilion. Kushal Malla and Rohit Paudel kept the score ticking over but were unable to push on. When they both fell in consecutive overs, for 41 and 31 respectively, Nepal were again left to rebuild.
The Rhino’s were unable to accelerate in the final 5 overs and lost frequent wickets, totalling a score of 290/8, which looked slightly under par on a friendly batting surface.
Zimbabwe in reply got off to a faster start, and maintained a comparative score advantage over Nepal throughout their chase. Although Sompal Kami and Gulsan Jha were able to claim the wickets of Joylord Gumbie and Wesley Madhevere, respectively, they couldn’t put significant pressure on the Chevrons. Craig Ervine carried his bat for 121 not out, whilst Sean Williams put the game beyond doubt with an attacking 102* from 70.
Most startling was the composure and intent with which Zimbabwe tackled Sandeep Lamichhane. The leg-spinner suffered figures of 0/77 from 10 overs, going wicketless and being the most expensive bowler in the Nepali line up. Also of concern is Sompal Kami leaving the field during his 6th over after splitting the webbing between fingers.
Nepal’s next game is against USA on Tuesday, whilst Zimbabwe take on the Netherlands on the same day
West Indies (297 all out, 49.3 overs) defeated USA (258/7, 50 overs) by 39 runs
Despite some periods of positivity, USA were ultimately outclassed by their Caribbean neighbours in their first ODI meeting between the two sides.
USA won the toss and opted to bowl first at Takashinga in Harare. The decision was justified almost immediately with early wickets to Kyle Philip and Saurabh Netravalkar, reducing West Indies to 14/2 inside 6 overs. Shai Hope and Johnson Charles hit back with a century partnership, followed by fifties for Roston Chase, Jason Holder and a quick 43 for Nicholas Pooran.
USA chipped away with frequent wickets, with three each for Philip, Netravalkar and Steven Taylor. Late wickets prevent further acceleration and ultimately the West Indies were bowled out inside their allocated overs, and just shy of 300.
In reply, USA managed 8 overs before losing their first wicket on 35, Sushant Modani the batter to fall. Steven Taylor fell in the following over, and further wickets fell in the 14th and 15th overs to reduce the score to 55/4. After a brief counter attack, Aaron Jones was run out, leaving the USA behind the game.
From here, Gajanand Singh and Shayan Jehangir took their time to build a partnership. Singh would go on to make an unbeaten century, his first in ODIs, with support from Nosh Kenjige. Despite some late acceleration, the USA were far behind the asking rate, and closed out their allocated overs 40 runs short, 7 wickets down.
Both teams’ next fixture is against Nepal, with the USA playing on Wednesday, whilst West Indies have an extra rest day before playing on Friday.