Sikandar Raza masterclass aids Zimbabwe to thrash West Indies in CWC Qualifier
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On Saturday, Zimbabwe won the 13th match of the Cricket World Cup (CWC) Qualifier with a 35-run victory over West Indies thanks to Sikandar Raza’s brilliant all-round performance.

The hosts Zimbabwe handed former champions West Indies a 35-run beating in Group A to secure the top spot.

In addition to his sensational 68-run knock and two wickets, all-rounder Sikandar Raza earned the Player of the Match award for his brilliance.

As the first team to bat, Zimbabwe scored 268 runs before bundling out at the end of the innings.

Joylord Gumbie and Craig Ervine opened the innings for the home side and scored 63 runs for the first wicket before Gumbie fell in the 16th over.

It took Gumbie 26 deliveries to score 26 points, including two boundaries and a six.

As a result of Ervine’s dismissal, the hosts fell to 112/4 in the 25th over.

With a 58-ball 47 including seven boundaries, Ervine remained Zimbabwe’s top run-getter, while Williams could only score 23 off 26 balls.

When the team slumped, Sikandar Raza once again stepped up and stitched a crucial 87-run partnership with Ryan Burl, both scoring half-centuries.

Following Burl’s well-crafted half-century, Akeal Hosein trapped him in the legs shortly after the pair counter-attacked the West Indian bowlers.

A five-boundary and six-wicket 50 was scored by Ryan Burl off 57 deliveries.

The Zimbabwean batting tail was exposed when Sikandar Raza and Clive Madane (5) shared a short partnership in the 46th over.

The top-scoring race for Zimbabwe was 58 balls, which included six boundaries and two sixes.

In the penultimate delivery of Zimbabwe’s innings, the West Indian bowlers bundled them out for 268 runs in the 29th over.

West Indies’ bowlers were led by Keemo Paul, who took three wickets but at a high cost, followed by Alzarri Joseph and Akeal Hosein, who each took two wickets.

Live coverage of the CWC Qualifier on ARY ZAP can be found here

Although Kyle Mayers made a half-century for West Indies, they could only raise 233 before being dismissed in the 45th over.

Earlier in their innings, West Indies opened with a 43-run partnership which lasted until Brandon King’s departure in the seventh over (20 off 12).

A few overs later, Johnson Charles was dismissed for one off five as the Caribbean side dealt yet another blow.

Having lost two wickets for 46 runs in the 10th over, Kyle Mayers was joined at the crease by skipper Shai Hope.

In the 21st over, Wellington Masakadza got rid of Mayers to end the flow of wickets and take West Indies past the 100-run mark.

As West Indies chased down the target, Mayers scored 56 runs from 72 balls with eight boundaries and a six.

The West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals, and despite some notable contributions in the middle from Shai Hope (34) and Nicholas Pooran (30), they fell to 180/6 in the 33rd over.

Zimbabwe moved just one wicket away from claiming a morale-boosting victory over the West Indies when Roston Chase fell in the 43rd over after a tough 44-run knock.

Tendai Chatara soon led Zimbabwe to their third consecutive victory in the CWC Qualifier by dismissing Alzarri Joseph in his next over.