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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Chevrons survive Oman scare

Story by Raynald Ngwarati

IN an encounter many had read as a walkover victory, the Zimbabwe national men’s cricket team was given a run for their money by Oman in their International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup Qualifiers Super Six encounter at Queens Sports Club this Thursday afternoon.

Zimbabwe who eventually won by 14 runs had shivers sent down their spine as Oman came in full force to make sure that they would not go down without a fight sending the encounter to the last over.

The determined Oman side did not read much on the paper but proved that anything can happen on the cricket outfield, giving their all to challenge the hosts despite chasing a mammoth 333-run target.

On a wicket that analysts had forecasted 270 runs to be a good score to defend, one would have written Oman off when Sean Williams inspired the Chevrons to a total of 332 runs.

Oman had other ideas proving their intentions from the word go as they put on 29 runs in just 4 overs before Blessing Muzarabani was introduced into the attack and immediately got the breakthrough with the wicket of Jatinder Singh.

Proving to be a man on a mission, opener Kashyapkumar Prajapati went on to score a brilliant inning of 103 off 97 balls to match his best score against the United States of America.

In doing so the batsman imprinted his name in the history books as his knock is the first century by an Oman batsman against an ICC full-member team.

It was a record-breaking fair for Oman as Prajapati’s ton helped the ‘underdogs’ reach 300 runs for the first time in an official match against an ICC full member nation, before reaching their highest-ever total in One Day Internationals (ODIs) match.

The Zimbabwe Cricket Supporters Union had to be on top of their game to motivate the lads back into the game, as their team was slowly losing grip of the match thanks to some beautiful batting displays from their opponents.

The fans were reading a different game altogether with their energy levels increasing timely and again as if their team had the upper hand.

Earlier on, Sean Williams had activated the records mode by joining the elite class of a few Zimbabwean batsmen to score back-to-back tons in ODIs.

Williams was ruthless with the bat picking up from where he left off against the USA to score 142(109) taking his run tally of the tournament to 532, thus maintaining his grip as the qualifiers’ top run scorer.

Despite losing partners on the other end, to the bowling of Fayyaz Butt who ended with figures of 4 for 79, Williams was in beast mode latching on to anything loose to grab himself another big score.

With a chance to prove himself bowler cum all-rounder Luke Jongwe scored a quick-fire 38 runs to propel Zimbabwe to their second-highest score of the tournament.

Zimbabwe now need one victory from their two matches to qualify for the World Cup in India later this year. They however face a tough task in their next match against a Sri Lanka side that is in red-hot form on Sunday.

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