Zimbabwe stunned West Indies by 35 runs in a crucial World Cup qualifying triumph on Saturday while the Netherlands ended Nepal’s hopes of reaching the global showpiece for the first time. The Dutch side’s seven-wicket win guaranteed a Super Sixes place and also meant that both Zimbabwe and two-time champions West Indies were assured of their places in the next round.
However, Zimbabwe will have the advantage of taking the two points from Saturday’s win with them into the next stage which features the top three sides from the two groups of five. Zimbabwe, put into bat, made 268 with Sikandar Raza top scoring with 68 from 58 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes.
Ryan Burl added a crucial 50 with five fours and a six after Zimbabwe had been 112-4 at one stage while skipper Craig Ervine made 47 at the top of the order. In reply, West Indies were well-placed at 134-3 before they lost seven wickets for just 99 runs. Opener Kyle Mayers top scored with 56 off 72 balls featuring eight fours and a six.
In the middle order, captain Shai Hope (30), Nicolas Pooran (34), and Roston Chase (44) all got starts but Tendai Chatara (3-52) and man of the match Raza (2-36) applied the brakes as the West Indies were dismissed for 233 in the 45th over.
“We did feel that we were maybe 20-30 short of what would probably be a winning score,” said Ervine.
“It is always going to be tough mentally. We have talked about treating every game and opposition the same. Today has been quite an emotional day for everybody and it is not a long time before we have to come back and play again on Monday.”
Hope admitted that fielding let them down. “Too much is on my mind right now, not sure if I can explain it. Lots of hurting and very disappointed but the tournament is not over yet,” said Hope. “We have to make sure we harden ourselves and understand what we have to do moving forward.”
Earlier, Nepal was put in to bat in their crunch tie by the Netherlands but folded for 167 after a middle-overs crisis initiated by Vikramjit Singh (2-20) and Logan van Beek (4-24). Nepal slumped from 46 for 1 to 91 for 5, and was unable to recover with skipper Rohit Paudel top scoring with 33.
In reply, opener Max O’Dowd hit 90 of 75 balls with eight fours and four sixes with Bas de Leede making an undefeated 41 as the Dutch reached their target in the 28th over.
“Disappointed not scoring the hundred but for me I just want to contribute to match-winning knocks — 90 in a winning cause is enough,” said man of the match O’Dowd. Paudel admitted that Nepal struggled to cope with the short ball tactics of the Dutch. “We had a plan but we couldn’t execute it. We need to learn and go back home and see how we can improve in that area,” he said.
In the last round of Group A games on Monday, West Indies face the Netherlands, who are second in the pool, while Zimbabwe tackle already eliminated the United States.