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04-Mar-2018 16:17:00 GMT
Zim v Nepal, CWCQ, Bulawayo

Sikandar Raza all-round show helps Zimbabwe to win

Zimbabwe 380 for 6 (Sikandar Raza 123, Taylor 100) beat Nepal 264 (Vesawkar 52, Sheikh 50, Raza 3-48) by 116 runs

Bulawayo: Sikandar Raza first scored a blistering 66-ball 123 and then returned 3/48 to get Zimbabwe’s ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 campaign off to a flyer as they beat Nepal by 116 runs at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo in their Group B match on Sunday, 4 March.

Batting first in overcast conditions, Brendan Taylor and Raza scored centuries and forged a 173-run stand for the fifth wicket to help Zimbabwe post a towering 380/6. Raza then struck with his off-spinners to lead the way in restricting Nepal to 264/8 in their 50 overs.

Mire soon brought up his half-century, his fourth in one-day internationals, off just 37 deliveries. It included five fours and three sixes.

Just when it seemed Zimbabwe were taking the game away from Nepal completely, Basant Regmi, the left-arm spinner, struck. He first accounted for Hamilton Masakadza for 16 and then got the big wicket of Mire, who ran straight past a tossed-up delivery to be stumped for 52 in 41 balls.

Taylor and Craig Ervine ensured Zimbabwe did not lose their way. The experienced duo added 77 runs for the fourth wicket in 98 deliveries to get to the 200-run mark in the 31st over. Ervine, however, could not stay for much longer, edging Lalit Rajbanshi behind for 34, scored off 50 balls.

Nepal were always going to be up against the asking rate and losing Dilip Nath in just the fourth over of the chase to Tendai Chatara did not help their cause.

But Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka’s second-wicket partnership of 54 runs took a shade under 10 overs with Khadka the aggressor, stroking eight boundaries during his 37-ball 40.

Raza then struck with just the second ball of his spell with a flighted one that sneaked past Khadka’s defence, and then removed Dipendra Singh Airee for 23 as Nepal slipped to 98/3 in the 22nd over.

With the required rate starting to go out of hand, Sharad Vesawkar and Aarif Sheikh got together and tried to up the scoring. Vesawkar looked the part among the Nepal batsmen, scoring runs against both spin and pace with equal ease, as he reached a well-deserved half-century off just 43 deliveries.

With the fifth-wicket partnership swelling to 73, Raza was brought back into the attack and he struck immediately again, trapping Vesawkar lbw for 52. Sheikh reached his half-century too with a slice through the covers, but was dismissed soon after by Kyle Jarvis for a 59-ball 50.

Despite Rohit Paudel also chipping in with a 32-ball 30, the finish line remained far away for Nepal.

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