Chevrons in Super Six


HOSTS Zimbabwe go into battle today with Ireland in the Super Six stage of the 2019 World Cup cricket qualifiers at Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe, who finished as Group B winners, face Ireland in their bid to progress to the semi-finals.
The Chevrons finished their group matches unbeaten, with seven points from four games.
The host, who were the pre-tournament favourites did not disappoint, albeit making narrow escapes in some of the matches.
Zimbabwe opened their account in a game against Nepal in which they walked away with an emphatic 116 runs victory. The team posted a huge total of 380 runs in their allotted 50 overs.
It took six wickets to reach that total and Nepal struggled in their chase.
The minnows posted 264 runs which was 117 runs short of victory.
The Chevrons’ second match was a tight affair that could have easily seen the hosts bite the dust against bogey side Afghanistan.
The two runs victory was all Zimbabwe needed to outdo Afghanistan who have not struggled against Zimbabwe in most matches.
The Chevrons posted 196 runs in 43 overs while the visitors’ response was two runs short.
It was the last over that swung the pendulum in Zimbabwe’s favour as Blessing Muzarabani took the last wicket to declare a two-run victory.
It was a match which appeared like Afghanistan were in the driving seat, needing just three runs from four balls.
The last wicket claimed by Muzarabani dashed the Zadrans’ hopes of claiming yet another victory against Zim.
Muzarabani made his career best 4-47.
The third match was against Hong Kong which the Chevrons won by 89 runs after posting 263 runs.
In response, Hong Kong reached 174 all out in 46.5 overs to lose the match.
The last group match was a nail-biting affair against Scotland in which a loss for Zimbabwe appeared inevitable.
After setting a target of 210 in 46 overs, Scotland reached the target but failed to make another run as they crashed in the last over.
The match ended tied with both teams earning a point in the match.
Scotland reached 210 in 49.1 overs.
Zimbabwe now set their sights on three Super Six matches.
They lock horns with Ireland before they take on West Indies in the tournament’s 29th match on March 19.
The third Super Six match for Zimbabwe will be against United Arab Emirates on March 22.
In the event of a tie in the Super Six stage, a super over will be played to decide the winner of the match.
Ireland pose yet another danger to Zimbabwe’s quest of reaching the final as they are no pushovers.
In their Group A matches, the Irish lost one match against West Indies.
Ireland amassed six points from four matches.
However, with home advantage and a huge crowd behind it, the Cheverons will have an edge over their opponents. Zimbabwe, which had nervy victories in the group matches, need to up their game to avoid disappointment.
Points at this stage of the tournament still matter as they help decide which two nations reach the finals.
The two finalists get an automatic qualification for the England-Wales World Cup finals.
Other Super Six matches feature Scotland and Ireland on Sunday at Harare Sports Club before UAE take on Afghanistan on March 20 at Old Hararians.
West Indies clash with Scotland on March 21 at Harare Sports Club.
Ireland and Afghanistan end the Super Six action at Harare Sports Club on March 23, two days before the final slated for March 25.
It remains to be seem whether the Test playing nations will make it to the finals.
Zimbabwe and West Indies are the two Test playing nations in the World Cup qualifiers.
The two play in the qualifiers after failing to get an automatic qualification.
Only top eight countries on the ICC One Day International rankings got an automatic berth to the World Cup.
Bangladesh, scheduled to host the qualifiers, managed to secure a World Cup berth after making it in the top eight.
The hosting of the qualifiers has been a massive boost to the country’s image.
The ‘new’ dispensation is presently engaged in a rebuilding effort which requires, among other things, foreign direct investment.
The successful hosting of the qualifiers has put the country in the limelight.
Nine countries are in Zimbabwe enjoying the hospitality of the country and this has been a boon to the tourism industry.


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