Chevrons keep slim hopes  of qualification alive Sikandar Raza

Brandon Moyo, [email protected]

AFTER losing two of their opening three matches in the ongoing T20 World Cup Qualifier Africa 2023 finals, the Chevrons have managed to keep their hopes of qualifying for next year’s T20 World Cup alive after a thumping 144 runs victory over Rwanda at Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek, Namibia yesterday.

After the convincing victory, Zimbabwe now have four points from a possible eight, winning two and losing as many games in their four matches played so far.

The Chevrons needed to prove a point after an embarrassing loss against Uganda on Sunday and Rwanda found themselves on the receiving end of Zimbabwe’s wrath.

Batting first, Zimbabwe scored 215/4 in their 20 overs before going on to bowl out their opponents for just 71 runs in 18,4 overs.

For the Rwanda skipper, Clinton Rubagumya it was a dream come true to play an international match against a Test playing nation and was grateful for the time they had and the tips they got from the Chevrons players. Apart from the tips, the Rwandan skipper was also grateful to his opposite number in the Chevrons camp, Sikandar Raza who gave him his jersey.

Despite the win, the Chevrons’ destiny will also be determined by results from other matches, something which Raza is not proud of but hopeful they will get the job done and qualify for the World Cup.

Raza, who was named player of the match for his brilliant all round performance, opened the batting with Tadiwanashe Marumani and said the injuries which the regular openers have were the reason behind the change.

“The weather has been threatening and we have not been sure whether we will be able to finish some of our games or not but it’s unfortunate because our destiny is in someone else’ s hands; we will try and get the job done. The brand of cricket we have been playing in the last six months is not there,” said Raza in the post-match interview.

He added that he had to elevate himself to open the batting as Craig Ervine and Innocent Kaia are nursing injuries while Marumani batted with a niggle.

Raza said he will always do what is best for the country.

The captain was also full of praise for their opponents, and wished them all the best going forward, adding that he hopes that Zimbabwe will play against them in the future to help them grow.

Opening the batting yesterday, Raza was in good form as he top scored for Zimbabwe with 58 runs from 36 balls while his partner, Marumani managed to score his first international half century in 20 over cricket, falling for 50 runs off 31 deliveries.

Ryan Burl, in the middle, chipped in with an unbeaten 44 runs off 21 balls while Sean Williams was caught on 22 runs having faced 14 balls. Making his first appearance in the tournament, Luke Jongwe had a late cameo which helped Zimbabwe reach 215 runs. The all-rounder scored an unbeaten 17 runs from just four deliveries. Emmanuel Sebareme finished with figures of 2/34 in his four overs for Rwanda.

Zimbabwean bowlers got off the match’s second innings off to a good start which saw Rwanda struggling on 15/5 in 5,5 overs before a 48 runs sixth wicket partnership between Didier Ndikubwimana and Martin Akayezu. The former top scored with 30 runs from 34 balls while the latter scored 17 runs from 22 deliveries. The two were the only Rwandan batters who managed to cross double figures.

It was Raza who wrapped up the innings with a hat trick, to become the first Zimbabwean bowler to take three wickets in three balls in T20Is. Raza finished with figures of 3/3 in 2,4 overs while fast bowler, Richard Ngarava also claimed three scalps for 11 runs in three overs. Burl took two wickets while Blessing Murazabani and Carl Mumba took one each.

The huge win boosted the Chevrons’ net run rate which has moved to 2, 276. They have a better net run rate than that of second placed Kenya who suffered a six wicket defeat at the hands of the hosts, Namibia.

Zimbabwe’s next match is against Nigeria tomorrow before they conclude their campaign against Kenya on Thursday.

The top two teams from the regional qualifier will proceed to the extended 2024 T20 World Cup which will be hosted by the West Indies and the United States of America (USA). — @brandon_malvin

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