Sean Williams hammered the fastest ODI century by a Zimbabwean as the host trounced Nepal by registering a comprehensive eight-wicket win in the first match of the World Cup qualifiers 2023 at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday. Williams reached his century in just 70 balls and broke the record of Brendan Taylor who slammed a ton in 79 deliveries.
Opting to bowl first, Zimbabwe restricted Nepal to 290 for the loss of eight wickets in 50 overs and then chased down the target in 44.1 overs with eight wickets in hand.
Nepal began its innings on a bright note with openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh forging a brilliant 171-run opening stand. Bhurtel was unlucky to miss out on a century as the opener departed for a brilliant 95-ball 99.
His innings was stitched with 13 hits to the fence and two sixes. Wicketkeeper-batsman Sheikh did play his part with a half-century (66, 100b, 7*4) to give Nepal a strong start. However, Richard Ngarava picked a four-wicket haul as Zimbabwe made inroads after breaking the opening partnership with Kushal Malla providing the finishing touches with a 42-ball 41.
In reply, Zimbabwe was off to a poor start as it lost opener Joylord Gumbie early. However, skipper Ervine hammered an unbeaten 121 off 128 balls, smashing 15 boundaries and a six en route to his century.
The skipper was well supported by Williams who entered the record books by scoring an unbeaten century (102, 70b, 13*4, 1*6) as the duo forged an unbeaten 164-run stand off 125 balls for the third wicket and helped Zimbabwe kickstart the qualifiers on a winning note.
“We didn’t start really well, dropping a couple of catches cost us but credit to the guys for pulling it back. We thought that 280-290 would be chaseable because the wicket looked very nice. We thought there would be a little bit more movement early on but the wicket played really well today. The conditions were very good, their openers batted really well but we didn’t take our early chances. Credit to them, they put us under pressure in the early part of their innings. We were just trying to break down into small chunks during the chase, just trying to concentrate on where the gaps are and what the bowlers are trying to do,” Zimbabwe captain Ervine said after the match.
With this win, Zimbabwe will look to book a Super 6 berth and now faces The Netherlands on Tuesday. Nepal, meanwhile will look to regroup as it faces United States of America (USA) in its next match on the same day.
The action continues on Monday, with Sri Lanka facing the United Arab Emirates and Ireland taking on Oman in Group B matches at Bulawayo.
Only two of the 10 teams taking part in the three-week qualifier will make the World Cup to be played in India in October and November.
Brief Scores: Nepal 290/8 in 50 Overs(Kushal Bhurtel 99, Aasif Sheikh 66, Ngarava 4/43) lost to Zimbabwe 291/2 in 44.1 Overs (Craig Ervine 121 no, Sean Williams 102 no) by eight wickets.
Player of the Match: Craig Ervine
- India vs Australia LIVE Score, 4th T20I updates: IND looks to seal series against depleted AUS; Toss at 6:30pm IST
- ISL 2023-24: Bengaluru FC denies Punjab FC its first win of the season in 3-3 draw
- Vijay Hazare Trophy 2023 LIVE Score, Round 5: Karthik’s 93 in vain as Punjab beats Tamil Nadu; Mumbai, Kerala win
- Germany and France set for Under-17 World Cup final rematch
- FIFA’s agent fee cap breaches British competition law: FA Tribunal