Favorites in their Super Six opener against Oman, Zimbabwe escaped with a narrow victory and increased their point total to six in the ongoing ICC World Cup Qualifiers. Oman came very close to achieving the target of 333 thanks to a stunning hundred by Kashyap Prajapati, but in the end, Sean Williams’ third hundred of the competition proved to have scored just enough runs.
At Bulawayo, Oman won the toss and ordered Zimbabwe to bat. The hosts got off to a strong start but kept losing wickets until the usual suspect Williams (142 off 103) and Sikandar Raza put up a stand of 102. Later, Luke Jongwe entered the game and scored an incredible 43 runs off just 28 balls, helping Zimbabwe reach an excellent total of 332/7. Despite being pricey, Fayyaz Butt was the best bowler, taking four wickets overall.
After Oman lost an early wicket in response, Kashyap Prajapati and Aqib Ilyas put up an 83-run stand for the second wicket. They reached 190/2 thanks to a further 78-run partnership between opener Prajapati and captain Zeeshan Maqsood. With 8 wickets still to fall, they were poised to win, and Prajapati reached a quick and lovely century.
The centurion’s dismissal, however, set off a wave of regular wickets, and even though Mohammed Nadeem’s cameo brought Oman to the verge of defeat, some wise bowling at the very end helped Zimbabwe recover, and they went on to win the match by 14 runs.
With this victory, Zimbabwe is at the top of group A and appears to be a strong candidate to qualify for the World Cup in October in India.