Super Six Day 1 – Zimbabwe survive Oman scare

Oman fell 15 runs short of a famous win, as Sean William's 142 trumped Kashyap Prajapati's 103

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - JUNE 20: Sikandar Raza of Zimbabwe celebrates after hitting the winning runs during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier Zimbabwe 2023 match between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands at Harare Sports Club on June 20, 2023 in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Alex Davidson-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Zimbabwe (332/7, 50 overs) defeated Oman (318/9, 50 overs) by 14 runs

Zimbabwe overcame a galvanised performance from Oman to take a step closer to a return to the ODI World Cup. The Sultanate have come within 15 runs of their 333-run target, thanks to a century from Kashyap Prajapati and late hitting from Mohammed Nadeem.

Zeeshan Maqsood won the toss, and like every captain in the preceding 20 games, opted to bowl first and take advantage of the early assistance for the bowlers. And whilst Zimbabwe negotiated the first powerplay unscathed, back to back strikes in the 12th and 13th overs gave Oman an opening.

But it was quickly narrowed by an emphatic innings from Sean Williams. The stalwart allrounder went on the attack early to give Zimbabwe momentum. Backed up by Wessly Madhervere (23), Sikandar Raza (42) and Ryan Burl (13), Williams score a fast century and allowed the hosts to line up a 300-run total.

Williams was eventually caught in the deep for 142 off 103 balls with the score 276/6. And with only the tail to come, Oman may have had hopes of keeping Zimbabwe to 300 or less. But Luke Jongwe and Richard Ngarava kept up the attack, taking the hosts to 332/7 at the close. Fayyaz Butt’s 4/79 provided the highlight of the Sultanate’s bowling performance.

The total looked a little over par, but in light of the Netherlands’ extraordinary chase on Monday, was by no means impossible.

And the Omanis started brightly, despite losing Jatinder Singh for only 2 runs. Prajapati and Aaqib Ilyas raised an 83 stand in good time to get the visitors into the chase. Ilyas eventually fell for 45, but captain Maqsood kept up the chase.

Until being 156/2 in the 31st over, Oman had always been ahead of Zimbabwe’s comparative score, but the run rate was climbing. And when Maqsood has to retire hurt, falling over playing a sweep shot, the pressure ramped up on the chase. 

Prajapati kept up the charge, raising his century in less than 100 balls. With 12 fours and a six, it was going to take something special to remove the set batter. That something special was Sikandar Raza, who took a catch running backwards to end Prajapati’s vigil. Oman needed 143 off the last 15 overs.

Aayan Khan made a punchy 47, but it was the arrival of Mohammed Nadeem in the 43rd over that kept the game alive. Nadeem hit 4 fours and a six in his 18-ball 30*, keeping the Sultanate in the contest.

Blessing Muzarabani removed Fayyaz Butt for the 8th wicket, leaving Oman needing 37 off 17 balls when Maqsood hobbled back to the crease. Unable to run hard, the captain swung from the hip, but neither he nor Nadeem could reliably connect with the ball.

Oman were left needing 29 off the last 6, and although Maqsood managed two boundaries, he was caught off the last ball with Oman on 318.

The defeat leaves Oman’s hopes of an ODI World Cup debut all but extinguished, needing all results to go their way to qualify. Zimbabwe, meanwhile, have 3 wins from 3 in the Super 6, with one more victory likely enough to return them to the biggest stage.

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