Zimbabwe qualify for T20 cricket World Cup

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE survived a scare from minnows Papua New Guinea (PNG) to qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be played in Australia later this year with a 26-run victory over the Pacific Islanders in an entertaining semi-final encounter at Queens Sports Club on Friday.

Zimbabwe will now play Netherlands in the final of the qualifying competition at Queens Sports Club on Sunday with both teams having already qualified for the T20 World Cup.

Netherlands beat USA by seven wickets in the other semi-final match played at Bulawayo Athletic Club on Friday.

Cheered on by a boisterous home crowd, Zimbabwe put on a solid team batting performance reaching 199 runs for five in 20 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

Zimbabwe’s batting lineup batters put on a solid display as they all managed to reach double digits with Wessley Madhevere top scoring with 42 runs from 29 balls as the hosts narrowly missed out on reaching 200.

Captain Craig Ervine (38) and Regis Chakabva (30) set the tone for a big total with a 38 – run opening stand while Milton Shumba coming on at number six contributed 29.

Senior allrounders Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza both scored 22 runs, making valuable contributions to the total score.

However, Zimbabwe almost made a mess of their defence with hard-hitting PNG batsman Tony Ura threatening to almost single-handedly dash Zimbabwe’s World Cup hopes with a quick-fire 66 from 35 balls.

The only other resistance was from Charles Amini (31) and in the end, PNG were restricted to 178 for eight in their allotted 20 overs as Zimbabwe secured their ticket to the T20 World Cup to be played in Australia in October.

Blessing Muzarabani was the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers grabbing two wickets for 24 runs in four overs while Richard Ngarava was the most economical bowler taking one wicket for 22.

Following up on his contribution with the bat Madhevere claimed one wicket for 12 runs with his off-spin while the trio of Luke Jongwe, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza also grabbed a wicket each.