Chevrons Inch Closer To The ICC T20 World Cup

 By Ashley Dube

Zimbabwe Cricket took top spot in Group A as they beat fellow contenders United States of America by 46 runs. With that win the Chevrons will face Papua New Guinea in the semi-final who finished second in Group B. A win against Papua New Guinea will secure their spot in the tournament proper to be played in Australia.

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Image credit - Zimbabwe Cricket

Craig Ervine, for the first time in the tournament, won the toss and elected to bat first. Zimbabwe made two changes with Innocent Kaia coming in for Wessly Madhevere and Richard Ngarava coming in for the injured Tendai Chatara. 

Regis Chakabva raced to 31 off 23 balls and was the second wicket to fall caught out of the bowling of Nisarg Patel. Earlier Patel had also taken the priced wicket of Craig Ervine who got 11 from 9 balls. Innocent Kaia was quickly dismissed for 2.

This brought in the dependable pair of Sikanda Raza and Sean Williams and the pair put on 79 runs for the fourth wicket before Sean Williams was dismissed on 35. Ryan Burl and Luke Jongwe went out in quick succession. 

Sikandar Raza, who had crossed 50 at that point, then teed off finishing unbeaten on 82 off just 40 balls (Strike rate 205). The highlight of his innings were the three sixes in a row off the bowling of Aaron Jones in the final over. Zimbabwe finished on 185-6.

The USA in pursuit started like a house on fire as leading run scorer Steven Taylor and fellow opener Monank Patel looked to make light work of Zimbabwe’s total. The pair put on 55 for the first wicket before Patel was caught by Williams of the bowling of Ngarava. 

The spinners came in decelerating the USA, Williams removing Aaron Jones for 7 before Wellington Masakadza took the big wicket of Taylor who was 4 runs short of his half century. From then on, wickets continued to tumble as the asking rate was getting out of control for the USA. 

They finished on 139-8 46 runs short of the target setting up a tie against Group B winners Netherlands in the other semi-final. For Zimbabwe Wellington Masakadza was the best bowler finishing with of 4-11 at an economy of 3.66.

Sikandar Raza was named man of the match for the second time in the tournament for his brilliant 82.

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