The Zimbabwe cricket team made it three wins in three as they downed Hong Kong by 89 runs in the ICC World Cup qualifiers at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
By Carlo Chikomba
Put into bat first, Zimbabwe openers Cephas Zhuwao and Solomon Mire had given their team a blistering start scoring 53 in under five overs with Zhuwao scoring an impressive knock of a 25-ball 45 that featured three sixes and six fours.
However, he would be the first wicket to fall on his 26th delivery. Nevertheless, Hamilton Masakadza continued the onslaught, going on to make 84 with Brendan Taylor hitting 46.
The hosts were looking impressive with the bat but just when it looked as if Zimbabwe would easily cross the 300 mark, Hong Kong bowlers tightened the screw as the pitch started to grip and the ball softened.
Masakadza’s six in the fifth ball of the 31st over was the last time Zimbabwe found the boundary for the rest of the innings – an excellent effort by Hong Kong bowlers to restrict their opponents to ones and twos over the final 18 overs.
After the fall of Masakadza and Taylor, the rest of the Chevrons batsmen offered little offensive play and in the end they labored to 263/9 in their 50 overs.
The Chevrons started off just as impressive in the bowling department as they took the first two wickets for 16 runs after 28 balls.
Hong Kong staged a mini-resistance when Scott McKechnie joined Rath at the crease forming some form of stability. The pair played safe to put on 59 for the fourth wicket before McKechnie, who scored 18, was bowled by Sikandar Raza.
That sparked a Hong Kong collapse as Zimbabwe went about mopping up the innings for their third win in a row that guarantees them a place in the Super Sixes.
Anshuman Rath was the pick of the visitors batsmen, compiling a patient 85 off 147 balls that could have been the foundation for Hong Kong to repair their innings but wickets fell around him. Hong Kong were eventually all out for 174 in 46.5 overs against the test-playing Chevrons.
Zimbabwe will now wait to see their opponents in the next round of the World Cup Qualifiers as they continue on their quest to reach the 2019 Cricket World Cup.