The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 commenced on 4 March 2018 and it has lived to expectations, with the opening matches laden with intriguing and entertaining action.
In the Group B openers, Zimbabwe edged minnows Nepal with a comprehensive 116-run victory. Tons from Sikandar Raza (123 off 66 deliveries) and Brendan Taylor (100 from 92 deliveries) gave Zimbabwe the emphatic victory at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
In 50 overs, Zimbabwe posted 380 runs for six wickets. Nepal’s response echoed a fighting spirit but it simply was not enough as they could only muster 264 for 8 in 50 overs. The opeing stand between Cephas Zhuwao and Solomon Mire provided a solid foundation for Zimbabwe’s batting attack.
“It was good to get out there today and get some big runs, we have been asking for runs from the top order, Mayor (Cephas Zhuwao) and Solomon (Mire) set a great foundation for us. Raza and Brendan were exceptional, two hundreds to get 380 on probably a 280 wicket,” Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer said.
Tendai Chatara and Sikandar Raza were excellent in the bowling department. The seamers seemed to be off the mark as Cremer admitted, and with the next match against Afghanistan it is likely Zimbabwe may opt for Tendai Chisoro.
In another Group B match, Scotland were victorious over Afghanistan with a 7 wicket victory. MacLeod and Richie Berrington, who scored 67, added 208 for the third wicket – a Scotland one-day record – as they chased 256 with 16 balls to spare. Mohammad Nabi made 92 and Najibullah Zadran 67 in Afghanistan’s 255 all out.
The group matches are free of charge.