BULAWAYO: Former captain Sean Williams top scored with 57 as hosts Zimbabwe reached the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Bulawayo on Tuesday along with the United States.
Williams, who struck seven fours off 39 balls, and Luke Jongwe (29 not out) were key figures as the home team posted 146-8 after being put in to bat by Jersey, a tiny island between England and France.
Jersey scored 123-5 in reply with Harrison Carlyon (45) and Benjamin Ward (35 not out) the chief contributors, leaving Zimbabwe winners by 23 runs.
“It is always nice to win when there is pressure around. It is an amazing thing for us to grow. Coach Dave Houghton brings a wealth of experience,” said Williams.
“We are working well as a unit. It is amazing to have that. It is always nice to contribute. It is also nice to contribute to winning ways.”
Captain Craig Ervine said: “You always want to start well and we definitely did that. Batting on a slightly tougher wicket, the guys knuckled down, especially Sean and Raz (Sikandar Raza).
“And then Luke Jongwe finished it off well to get us to 140 odd runs, which we believed was enough to defend.”
Jersey skipper Charles Perchard said: “I thought we showed great fight with the ball for 20 overs to restrict them to 146, which we backed ourselves to chase down.
“We fought exceptionally hard and the boys are pretty gutted now. The plan was to attack their spinners, but we did not quite manage that and Zimbabwe bowled and fielded well.”
American Taylor stars again
Seeking a first T20 World Cup appearance, the United States were far too strong for Singapore despite the Asian nation being ranked six places higher.
Put in to bat after losing the toss, the Americans scored 201-6 as Steven Taylor followed up a first round century against Jersey with a 58 that included two sixes and seven fours.
Jaskaran Malhotra also posted a 58, laced with four sixes, and captain Monank Patel hit 39 for a team bolstered by former South Africa fast bowler Rusty Theron.
Singapore flopped for the second successive day when batting, making only 69 with only Anantha Krishna (21 not out) showing resistance.
The US, who top Group A on net run rate, and Zimbabwe have four points each and they meet on Thursday in the final round of group matches to decide who finishes first.
Group B favourites the Netherlands are almost certain to make the semi-finals after a second win in as many days, this time by seven wickets against Hong Kong.
Hong Kong won the toss, batted and were all out for 116, thanks mainly to 60 runs from captain and opener Nizakat Khan.
The Dutch cruised to 117-3 with 40 balls to spare as Max O’Dowd (45) and Bas de Leede (36 not out) led the way for the four-time T20 World Cup qualifiers.
Papua New Guinea recovered from a heavy opening-day defeat by the Netherlands to get back into contention for a last-four place with an eight-wicket triumph over Uganda.
The runs of Simon Ssesazi (78) and Riazat Ali Shah (48) steered the Africans to 160-4, but an unbeaten 93 from captain Assad Vala lifted the Pacific islanders to 161-2 and victory with 20 balls remaining.
Leaders Netherlands have four points and if they beat second-placed Uganda on Thursday, Papua New Guinea will progress to the penultimate stage provided they overcome struggling Hong Kong.