The Zimbabwe Cricket team has broken records and impressed fans in the Group Stages of the 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. Yesterday, the team achieved a massive 304 runs victory against the United States of America (USA) at the Harare Sports Club, which is now the Chevrons’ highest victory margin in One Day International (ODI) history.
Zimbabwe went into yesterday’s match looking to end their group campaign on a high note and managed to do so in style. After they were sent in to bat first, Zimbabwe batsmen made light work of American bowlers, showing that the two countries are a world apart in cricket. The Chevrons scored a huge 408/6 in 50 overs, a record-breaking score and one of many that were broken on the day.
For the first time ever, four hundred runs were scored on Zimbabwean soil in an ODI match, becoming the highest score ever made in the country and Zimbabwe’s highest in the format, surpassing their previous best of 351 against Kenya in 2009 in Mombasa.
The architect of that innings was Sean Williams, who was standing in as the captain for the injured Craig Ervine. Going into yesterday’s match, Williams was nowhere near the top 10 highest individual scores in ODIs for Zimbabwe, but by the time he walked back to the pavilion in the 49th over, he was holding the third-highest score, behind Hamilton Masakadza (178 not out) and Charles Coventry (194 not out).
The 36-year-old all-rounder top-scored with 174 runs from 101 deliveries, surpassing the likes of Craig Wishart, Andy Flower, Grant Flower, and Brendan Taylor among others who had all been in the top 10 prior to yesterday’s game. The in-form Williams has now scored two centuries and a half-century in four matches in the tournament.
Yesterday he was supported by Ryan Burl and Sikandar Raza who fell short of scoring half-centuries. Burl fell one hit short of equalling AB de Villiers’ fastest half-century in the history of ODI cricket (16 balls). Burl was caught on 47 runs off 15 deliveries while Raza fell two runs short off his half-century on 48 runs from 27 balls.
After a brilliant batting display, Zimbabwean bowlers stepped up to make sure that the game really makes it to the history books. It only took Zimbabwean bowlers 25.1 overs to wipe out USA with Raza and Richard Ngarava taking two scalps each for 15 and 25 runs respectively. Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, and Burl all took one wicket each as they bowled out USA for just 104 runs with their top scorer being Abhishek Paradkar with 24 runs from 31 deliveries.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa took to Twitter to congratulate the team for their excellent performance and urged fans in the City of Kings and Queens, Bulawayo, to come in their numbers and rally behind their team for the Super Six matches. Zimbabwe’s next match is on Thursday at Queens Sports Club for the Super Six, and their opponents are yet to be known as Group B matches will be concluded today.
The Chevrons will play all their three Super Six games at Queens Sports Club, and two wins will be enough to send them through to the World Cup in October in India. The team’s impressive performance has given cricket fans hope for a successful campaign in the World Cup.