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Streak's Men Top Group B - Zimbabwe Today
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Streak’s Men Top Group B


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The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 got off to the best possible start for hosts Zimbabwe yesterday when they thrashed minnows Nepal while Scotland were winning big over their Group B nemesis Afghanistan. The Chevrons lived up to their billing as one of the group favourites with a convincing 116-run victory. The hosts achieved the big win with batting performance that apparently put the Associate Nation in their rightful place.

Zimbabwe piled on 360 for the loss of six wickets, thanks to Sikandar Raza (123) and Brendan Taylor (100), who helped illuminate the opening day with two of the three tons witnessed in the four matches played yesterday.

For yesterday, the batting which usually is one of the Chevrons’ problem areas looked okay following a promising start by Solomon Mire (52) and Cephas Zhuwawo (41).

The middle order yesterday did not disappoint while the bowling department would have capped a fine day by bowling out the little known opponents who clawed to 264/8 through their 50 overs. The Chevrons skipper Graeme Cremer told the ICC Website that he would rather want to see a more consistent Zimbabwe ahead of the other group matches against Afghanistan tomorrow, Scotland and Hong Kong.

“It’s not so much the wins as the inconsistency. One day we can be a world-beating team and the next day like we’ve never played before. “That’s been the toughest thing, the real ups and downs, there’s been no medium — it’s either really good or really poor. It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions and that’s been one of the toughest things,” said Cremer.

Zimbabwe lead Group A after the opening matches with Scotland on second place following their seven wicket win over Afghanistan. Both sides have two points but Zimbabwe enjoy a better net run rate.

But the clash between Zimbabwe and Afghanistan tomorrow will give more pointers to how Group B could shape. Scotland will be playing Hong Kong on the same day and it would look another win by the Scots will confirm Group B to be the most open of the two groups at the Qualifiers.

Having started on the back foot, Afghanistan are likely to throw their best performances against Zimbabwe tomorrow so that they stay in the hunt. The Afghans have caused problems for Zimbabwe in the past few years, including recently when they thumped the Chevrons 4-1 in the run up to the tournament.

Their spin bowling has been their most dangerous weapon. But the conditions in Bulawayo are more inclined to favour the batsmen although spin will play an important part later in the tournament. “Spin — doesn’t matter where you go in the world — plays a huge part in limited-overs cricket. It will be important and our team has been based around spin for a number of years and we’ve been successful in that. So nothing will change.

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