ICC World Cup Qualifiers :Taylor and Raza slam Nepal in the opening match

Zimbabwe 380/6 (Sikandar Raza 123 and 3 for 48, Brendan Taylor 100) defeat Nepal 264/8 ( Sharad Vesawkar 52, Aarif Sheikh 50) by 116 runs

Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza’s thunderbolt show in the middle of first innings contributed to a mammoth 380 runs for 6 wickets in fifty over’s for Zimbabwe. Raza then went on to grab 3 wickets to complete an all round victory over Nepal in their first match of ICC World Cup qualifiers at Bulawayo.

Lalit Rajbanshi
Debut match for Lalit Rajbanshi

Nepal’s confidence from the Division-2 tournament was snuffed in the first half of the match when they failed to have any sort of answer to Zimbabwe’s counter attack. Paras Khadka opted to change the bowling attack by lining up only four frontline bowlers that incorporated three spinners and a medium pacer, in a route to hand over debut to Lalit Rajbanshi. The decision later came to back fire with every bowler getting smacked all over the park, and no any significant retort to the Batsman.

Raza, came to the middle to partner the returning Brendan Taylor in international cricket, when Zimbabwe were already in strong position at 4 for 200 in the 31st over. At that point of play, Taylor was already settled with 51 runs off 49 balls. With only 19 over’s of play remaining, Taylor started firing the bowlers while Raza took some time to fondle the ball.

In the 38th over, Raza took off with a six of Rajbanshi’s ball, the over after; he smashed Sompal Kami for two consecutive sixes and a four. That was just the demonstration what was yet to come from his bat. On the other side, Taylor was equally good as Raza.

Sikandar Raza (left) and Brendan Taylor (right)

In the 48th over, Raza got to his century with a single. The very next delivery saw Taylor also completing his ton. The duo departed back on similar fashion in two consecutive delivery of Sompal Kami in the 49th over. Taylor carved 7 fours and a six in his 100 runs innings while Raza blew nine humongous sixes and seven fours in his 66 ball 123 runs innings.

Before Taylors and Raza’s assault, the openers laid the foundation for a gigantic score. Right from the start, Cephas Zuwao (41 off 23 balls) and Solomon Mire (52 off 41 balls) shattered the bowlers. The score was 77 in 7 over’s before Sandeep Lamichhane dismissed the dangerous looking Zuwao. Nepal tried to fight back early on by picking 3 wickets in quick fashion. However, Taylor and Craig ervine (34 off 50) put on a partnership of 87 runs to discharge any breed of comeback.

For Nepal, the bowling cards looked meager with each and every bowler yielding plenty of runs. Basant Regmi, with 2 wickets for 69 runs in his 10 overs was the pick of the bowler. Sompal also took 2 wickets to his name.

Nepali batsman, tottering from the carnage, focused on batting out the full overs instead of taking a shot at the target. They were more on to limiting the damage by scoring decent runs and eliminating heavy negative net run rate.

Early on skipper khadka showed real character on his way to 40 off 37 deliveries with four fours of a single Jarvis over. He was dismissed by the star of the match Sikandar raza while trying to play a big shot. The middle order batsman played their part, specially Sharad Vesawkar,  Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Kumar Paudel.

Vesawkar, in his innings of 52 runs cuffed 6 fours and a six from 48 balls. Sheikh and Paudel chipped in sensibly, rotating strikes and smashing any poor deliveries over the rope. Sheikh made 50 runs while Paudel played a cameo of 30 runs.

Sikandar Razaa shone with the ball too, picking up 3 wickets and conceding only 48 runs. He was supported well by his compatriot Vitori with a figure of 8-1-46-2. Sikandar Raza, undoubtly was declared the player of the match for his all round performance that sealed the opening victory to the host Zimbabwe.

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