Zim late wickets key to the unbeaten run
Zimbabwe took a decisive step towards topping Group A with a dramatic 35-run victory over West Indies, while Netherlands eased past Nepal by seven wickets.
Sikandar Raza shone with bat and ball, hitting 68 runs from 58 balls before contributing two for 36 as West Indies fell short of their total, though both sides sealed Super Six qualification.
Netherlands also booked their spot in the Super Six with a seven-wicket victory over Nepal, Max O’Dowds 90 off 75 balls the highlight.
Zimbabwe maintained their unbeaten start and took control of Group A with a 35-run win over West Indies.
Put in to bat, Zimbabwe started steadily with opening pair Joylord Gumbie (26) and Craig Ervine (47) putting on 63 before Keemo Paul pinned Gumbie lbw in the 16th over.
New batter Wessly Madhevere (2) and captain Ervine followed not long after, the latter mis-hitting a reverse sweep to extra cover to leave the Chevrons 90 for three.
But a valuable knock from Sean Williams (23), some superb stroke play from the evergreen Sikandar Raza (68) and a terrific half century from Ryan Burl (50) hauled Zimbabwe back to 199 for five.
West Indies twice dropped Raza with the 37-year-old on just two and eight, and they would regret to those chances as the all-rounder led the middle order revival from the hosts.
Raza eventually fell with just four overs remaining, pulling a slower ball from Kyle Mayers into the hands of Joseph, the man responsible for both prior drops.
Zimbabwe’s tail added ultimately vital runs at the death but West Indies started swiftly in their chase until Brandon King fell for 20.
Johnson Charles departed for a single but middle order contributions from Shai Hope (30), Nicholas Pooran (34) and Roston Chase (44) kept Windies on track.
But Zimbabwe fought back, Rovman Powell (1) trapped in front by Muzarabani before Tendai Chatara found the outside edge of Jason Holder (19).
The equation stood at 52 runs required from 9.5 overs, with three wickets in hand, but Raza dismissed Keemo Paul (1) and Chatara claimed the crucial wicket of Chase before finishing the job by removing Joseph in the 45th over.
Zimbabwe fans packed into Harare Sports Club, with many diverted to watch on the big screen at the adjacent rugby club when the venue reached capacity by 11am.
Netherlands sealed Super Six qualification as they sealed a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Nepal in Harare.
Logan van Beek (4/24) was the main threat with the ball and needed just eight balls to strike, dismissing Aasif Sheikh for a duck.
Kushal Bhurtel (27) and Bhim Sharki (22) steadied the ship for Nepal but the former was the first of a quickfire double breakthrough for Vikramjit Singh (2/20).
Nepal were 66 for four when Clayton Floyd dismissed Sharki and though captain Rohit Paudel (33) led a fightback of sorts, both he and Dipendra Singh Airee (14) fell to the dangerous van Beek.
A valuable 27 off 33 balls from Sandeep Lamichhane helped take the score past 150 but he was another to succumb to a van Beek short ball as Nepal were bowled out for 167 with 5.3 overs unused.
Max O’Dowd stated his intentions by 12 runs off the first three balls of Lalit Rajbanashi’s second over as Netherlands started strongly.
Singh (30) brought up the 50 partnership with a six before he was trapped in front by Lamichhane, who then removed Wesley Barresi (3) to give his side hope.
But O’Dowd continued at pace, taking his side past three figures in the 16thover.
A sparkling innings eventually came to an end with victory all but assured, as O’Dowd was bowled by Gulsan Jha 10 runs shy of a maiden ODI century, but Bas de Leede’s unbeaten 41 completed the job with 22.5 overs to spare.
Sunday brings two crunch fixtures in Group B.
Ireland, without a point to their name so far, must beat unbeaten Sri Lanka if they are to stand a chance of progressing to the Super Six stage, with the Lions knowing they will be assured of their spot if they win.
Scotland and Oman are also well placed to qualify and go head-to-head at Bulawayo Athletic Club.
Both sides have four points, though Oman have played a game more.
Scores in brief
Zimbabwe beat West Indies at Harare Sports Club, Harare by 35 runs
Zimbabwe 268 all out in 49.5 overs (Sikandar Raza 68, Ryan Burl 50; Keemo Paul 3/61, Alzarri Joseph 2/42)
West Indies 233 all out in 44.4 overs (Kyle Mayers 56, Roston Chase 44; Tendai Chatara 3/52, Richard Ngavara 2/25)
Netherlands beat Nepal at Takashinga Cricket Club, Harare by seven wickets
Nepal 167 all out in 44.3 overs (Rohit Paudel 33, Sandeep Lamichhane 27; Logan van Beek 4/24, Vikramjit Singh 2/20)
Netherlands 168/3 in 27.1 overs (Max O’Dowd 90, Bas de Leede 41*; Sandeep Lamichhane 2/60, Gulsan Jha 1/27)
Sunday June 25 – Fixtures
Ireland v Sri Lanka at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Oman v Scotland at Bulawayo Athletic Club, Bulawayo