2022 ICC MEN’S T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION B
An accelerated 82* from Sikandar Raza saw Zimbabwe improve to 185-6 ©Getty
Hosts Zimbabwe cruised to a 46-point win over the United States in their final group game of the T20 World Cup World Qualifier B at Queens Club to take top spot in Group A and host a decisive semi-final against Papua New Guinea, avoiding a clash with the Netherlands, who are also undefeated, in the de facto knockout round.
An 82* acceleration from Sikandar Raza saw the hosts improve to 185-6 after opting to strike, and despite Steven Taylor giving the Americans a strong start in response, the home spinners, led by Wellington Masakadza, would strangle the chase once the field spread and see the home team to a comfortable victory. At the same time at Bulawayo Athletic Club, Jersey held off Singapore for their first tournament victory, but with little pride at stake.
Seeking to make the most of the field restrictions, Regis Chakabva and Craig Ervine would take an aggressive approach early on, with Chakabva giving Rusty Theron a less than hospitable welcome in the second, taking him for three consecutive boundaries to establish the healthy home cheer a crowd. Ervine would also look positive, but offered his wicket to Nisarg Patel in the next game with a miss picking Saurabh Netravalkar from the field at 45.
The hosts were nonetheless off to a 55-1 flyer after the first six, but Patel would claim his second in the eighth as Chakabva, who had struggled for fluidity once the ground had spread, looked to go on the towards more but could not. clear the man on the circle. Innocent Kaia looked immediately uncomfortable against Cameron Stevenson, a feather edge saving him from a solid scream on Stevenson’s second delivery, but there was no doubt three balls later as he was pinned down in front as USA fought back with the ball.
At 70-3 at the halfway point, the innings looked to have lost momentum, but Sikandar Raza quickly got the measure of the box and the bowl and lifted his fifty just his 29th delivery – a low, full throw from Theron walked away. behind square for four. Williams never quite managed to find Raza’s acceleration game, shooting Aaron Jones’ legs on the first ball of 18 to end an unusually labored 37-for-35 inning. Ryan Burl would go out swinging, connecting once to send Jones over the midwicket string but top edge the next to go for a contextually useful 8 on 3 ball. Luke Jongwe was unable to replicate the cameo, however, losing his center stump in the swing on a right from Netravalkar, who would finish with exemplary numbers of 1-27 from his 4 overs.
But Monank Patel would entrust the latter to Aaron Jones and Raza would make him regret, putting the first ball at six on midwicket and following it out of the stadium for longer. Jones would balk on the third delivery, but when he fell he was sent just over the midwicket rope again. An outside wide was followed by a missed leg kick, to Raza’s visible frustration, but Shumba slapped the next straight for a bouncer and a scrambled two on the overlong last made Zimbabwe 185-6 at the break, Raza undefeated on 82 of 40.
Taylor would give the United States the start they needed, first looking for gaps on the court before sweeping Raza to the square for six in the third. Monank got in on the action next, taking Ngarava for three-bound four-ball, but Ngarava fought back to surprise Monank with a bouncer on ball five of the sixth, and a cramped pull brought up a simple hold for Williams. from the middle.
At 55-1 after the power play, however, USA was precisely on track with Taylor well placed on 36 of 20. Still, Aaron Jones struggled for fluidity at the other end and although he would find the string from Williams in the ninth, he had Toss the next ball to long-range Shumba, who took a nice hold as he dipped forward. The slowing pace created pressure on Taylor at the other end, and Wellington Masakadza would take advantage in the next class, with Taylor looking to get his fifty down but not having enough and Shumba taking a much easier hold for him. send back for 46. Two balls late and Maskadza had his second, Malhotra’s bottom sneaking into the stumps on the cut and with two new men at the crease in Gajanand Singh and Marty Cain, and the asking rate in double digits , the United States looked far adrift at 80-4.
Scoreboard pressure would do for Gajanand Singh in Masakadza’s next game, going overboard under a slog sweep and finding Ryan Burl deep squared, Cain and Sushant Modani falling further and further behind the pace then that Zimbabwean spinners were strangling the hunt. Modani would drag on to look for a sweep away from Burl on the first ball of the 16, by which time the result was beyond doubt with the United States still 80 points behind.
Masakadsa and Burl then combined again, with the former notching his fourth while the latter pocketed Marty Cain deep square. Nisarg Patel and Cameron Stevenson were left to beat the overs but the latter would clip a pitch from Jongwe to cover before the close, and Patel’s 24* cameo from 17 was for naught but practice for tomorrow as Zimbabwe closed out a 46-run win.
The win means they will face Papua New Guinea in their semi-final at Queens tomorrow, who went through Group B with just one win and a clean run rate. The United States will face the undefeated Netherlands, who will play their first match at a new BAC venue at the same time.
Jersey took the honors there today, defending 154-7 despite Manpreet Singh inspiring a late recovery for Singapore. Harrison Carlyon and Nick Greenwood added 54 for the first wicket inside 7 overs after Jersey opted to strike, the latter reaching the top score of 44 from 22 before falling to Aryaman Sunil as the front four of the Islanders all participated. Sunil and Skipper Amjad Mahboob would play with discipline to prevent Jersey running away with the game, with the eventual goal of 155 looking within reach at the break.
Carlyon would strike twice in his first spell, however, trapping both Aman Desai and Surendran Chandramohan LBW early on, and Elliot Miles getting Rezza Gaznazi caught soon after as three wickets fell on the power play. Singh would fight back through the middle though and, along with Arjun Mutreja, would bring Singapore back into the running before losing his partner in the 15th, caught and knocked down by Chuggy Perchard. Singh himself would go two overs later, and the chase would come to a halt with Dom Blampied claiming two wickets in the final while defending 18 runs, providing Jersey with a 13 run victory and a boost of morale heading into the consolation playoff.