Zimbabwe secure convincing win courtesy of Raza’s record century

Netherlands vs. Zimbabwe

Sikandar Raza’s record-breaking all-around performance (4-55 & 102*), along with Sean Williams’ ferocious 91, enabled Zimbabwe to complete the fourth-fastest 300+ run chase in ODI history. After the Netherlands scored a respectable 315/6, Zimbabwe put on a clinic in chasing, spearheaded by Raza and Williams, and reached the goal in just 40.5 overs with six wickets remaining to win Group A.

Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd put on a 120-run opening partnership, which likely caused Zimbabwe to question their decision to bowl first and laid the groundwork for the Netherlands’ respectable score. Vikramjit didn’t seem to be phased by losing two partners to Raza in fast succession; instead, he went on to form another substantial pair worth 96 with his captain Scott Edwards. The opener scored the most runs with 88 in 111 deliveries, while the captain led the assault with 83 off just 72.

Once more, Raza saved Zimbabwe by striking twice quickly one after the other to prevent Vikramjit from scoring a century by 12 runs. However, a useful cameo from Saqib Zulfiqur (31-ball 34) advanced the target to the 300+ range.

Leading the way were the Zimbabwean openers, led by skipper Ervine, who collapsed shortly after reaching fifty. However, Williams’ arrival and a half-century in 28 balls were what really set the tone for the record attempt. In his 58-ball innings, the No. 3 star smashed two sixes and 10 boundaries. He also shared an important 84-run stand with Raza, who was already on a roll after hitting a four-for. In just 54 balls, Raza scored the fastest ODI tonne for his nation, propelling Zimbabwe to victory with a six in the 41st over. He increased the onslaught on a helpless Dutch bowling lineup.

USA vs. Nepal

The USA was in serious danger thanks to Karan KC’s new-ball spell, which also helped Nepal win easily by six wickets to open their account. Despite wicketkeeper Shayan Jahangir’s counterattacking century, Karan chose all of his wickets during the powerplay to make early inroads and deal the USA a blow from which they were never able to recover. After dismissing the USA for a pitiful 207, Nepal easily reached the goal with seven overs remaining.

The USA lost two wickets in the first over of the right-arm bowler Karan’s new-ball spell because it was too hot to manage. He dismissed American captain Aaron Jones as well after a difficult 22-ball effort for just two runs, leaving the team in trouble at 18/4 after 10 overs. When they were still unbeaten, opener Sushant Modani’s valiant 42 off 71 balls helped them make some progress before Jahangir took over. Despite minimal assistance from the tail, the keeper-bat smashed 10 fours and sent three sailing over the ropes to give the USA’s total some respectability.

Despite an early hiccup, Nepal recovered with a 49-run partnership between top scorer Bhim Sharki (77* off 114) and Kushal Bhurtel (39 off 54). The 208-run target was never going to be enough. The USA did succeed in striking frequently to stop the momentum each time Sarki was able to form a partnership, but the bowlers had little to defend. Nepal crossed the finish line with six wickets still remaining thanks to an unbroken 74-run partnership with Dipendra Singh Airee, who smashed 39 off 31.

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