Captain Ervine praises Zimbabwe bowlers after ICC World Cup qualifier opening win

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE cricket team captain Craig Ervine, who played a match-winning knock of 121 runs, praised his bowlers for setting the foundation for the team’s eight wicket victory against Nepal in their opening ICC World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

Despite ultimately coming short, Nepal put on a solid batting display as they appeared on course to a score of over 300 runs before the Zimbabwe bowlers restricted them to 290 for eight from their allotted 50 overs.

Off-spinner Wellington Masakadza set the platform by dismissing Nepal’s dangerous opening batsmen while fast bowler Richard Ngarava was the hosts’ most successful bowler with four wickets for 43 runs off his nine overs.

After the solid work by the bowlers, the veteran duo of Ervine and Sean Williams put on a 164 partnership in just 125 balls to take Zimbabwe to a remarkable victory in the World Cup Qualifiers.

Ervine scored 121 off 128, while Williams hit 102 off 70.

RELATED: Williams, Ervine shine as Zimbabwe outclass Nepal in ICC World Cup Qualifier opener

“I feel pretty ecstatic – we knew it was a decent wicket to bat on so it was about giving ourselves a chance,” Ervine said after the match.

“It’s been really good, leading up to this and scoring some runs. Hopefully, I can continue like this. As a team, we always like to dominate batting second. You look all around the wicket, from the 10 over mark to the 40 over mark, there are five fielders in the ring so there are always boundary options. I thought we were staring down the barrel of 340 but our bowlers did really well to pull things back. I thought 290 was below par,” he said.

Ervine also praised his team for remaining focused despite a jittery start when they dropped crucial catches which could have proved costly.

“We didn’t start really well – dropped catches cost us but credit to the guys for pulling it back,” he said.

“We thought that 280/290 would be chaseable because the wicket looked very nice.

“We thought there would be a little bit more movement early on but the wicket played really well today.

“The conditions were very good, their openers batted well but we didn’t take our early chances – credit to them, they put us under pressure in the early part of their innings.

“We were just trying to break down into small chunks during the chase, and trying to concentrate on where the gaps are and what the bowlers are trying to do. “I think it’s well played today, rest day tomorrow and a quick turnaround when we play the Netherlands next on Tuesday.”