ODI World Cup Qualifier: Zimbabwe and West Indies kick off Qualifier campaigns with victories

Captain Craig Ervine led from the front with an unbeaten 121 as Zimbabwe kicked off their ODI World Cup 2023 Qualifier campaign with a comfortable eight-wicket win over Nepal here Sunday.

Zimbabwe skipper Ervine joined forces with Sean Williams (102 not out)as both batters’ centuries propelled the hosts to a composed eight-wicket triumph over Nepal, while chasing 291.

And just a few miles down the road in the Zimbabwean capital, Jason Holder and Shai Hope helped West Indies to a straightforward 39-run victory over the USA after scoring 297.

Ervine and Williams steer hosts to assured triumph

Player of the match Ervine delivered a captain’s display as his century guided Zimbabwe to victory over Nepal.

Ervine and Williams – whose 70-ball hundred marked the fastest by a Zimbabwean batter in one-day international cricket – combined to construct a decisive 164-run partnership as the hosts confidently chased down Nepal’s 290 for eight, which was spearheaded by Kushal Bhurtel’s blockbuster 99 at the top of the order.

West Indies prove too strong for battling USA

Holder, Hope, Johnson Charles and Roston Chase all combined to fire the West Indies to a 39-run win over the USA at Takashinga Sports Club.

All four West Indian stars made first innings half-centuries and despite Gajanand Singh’s brilliant hundred for the Americans in reply, two wickets apiece for Kyle Mayers and Alzarri Joseph helped restrict the underdogs to a total of 258 for seven.

American captain Monank Patel opted to field first in a decision that reaped almost immediate – and stunning – rewards in south-west Harare.

Patel’s side required just 2.1 overs to make the breakthrough as left-arm seamer Saurabh Netravalkar had West Indian opener Brandon King trapped LBW without scoring.

And one became two just three overs later when Kyle Phillip bowled Mayers to reduce Hope’s stuttering side to 14 for two.

Hope and Charles soon began rebuilding the innings, constructing a polished partnership of 115 as both batters brought up half-centuries.

But they were both dismissed in quick succession as Hope (54) fell to Nosthush Kenjige and Steven Taylor had Charles caught for 66.

Chase and Nicholas Pooran continued to come at the Americans as the experienced pair put on an important 50-run partnership.

Pooran motored to a dazzling 43 off just 28 balls – including three sixes – while Chase (55) made a measured run-a-ball half-century.

Netravalkar, Phillip and Taylor soon began to chip away at the West Indies’ lower-order as Holder’s heroics at the other end – 56 off just 40 balls – helped salvage his side’s innings.

American openers Taylor and Sushant Modani looked comfortable in reply before Holder made the breakthrough and triggered a flurry of early wickets.

The West Indian all-rounder removed Modani in the eighth over before Mayers joined the party to dismiss both Taylor and Patel.

Joseph helped make further inroads into the American middle-order but they encountered considerable resistance from a combination of Singh, who made a battling century, Shayan Jahangir and Nosthush Kenjige.

The fluent left-hander brought up his hundred in the final over of the innings after Jahangir had made 39 and Kenjige ended on 34 not out at the other end.

But the experienced West Indian attack proved too strong for the Americans to overcome as the two-time ODI World Cup champions got their campaign off to the perfect start.