Nelson, Feb 19: All-rounder Sean Williams (67 not out, 2-43) helped Zimbabwe stave off a strong challenge from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to win their Pool B World Cup game by four wickets at the Saxton Oval here on Thursday.
Williams took two crucial wickets even though Shaiman Anwar’s 67 powered UAE to a strong total of 285/7. During the chase, the African outfit was reeling at 144/4 when it lost star batsman Brendon Taylor (47).
But Williams scored an unbeaten innings of 76 in 65 balls to chase down the target with two overs and four wickets to spare.
In pursuit of 286, Zimbabwe got a very good start from openers Sikander Raza (46) and Regis Chakbva (35). But the UAE bowlers hit back by quickly dismissing Raza and Hamilton Masakadza (1).
With the score at 72/2 in 15.1 overs, Taylor joined Chakbva in the middle. But their partnership lasted only for 50 runs as the latter fell trying to hit right-arm spinner Mohammad Tauqir. Seven overs later, Taylor was trapped infron tof the stumps by another offie sir Aziz. This left a major question on Zimbabwe’s chase with the score reading 144/4 in 27.3 overs.
Solomon Mire also gave his wicket to Mohammad veed to leave the team reeling at 165/5 in 32.4 overs.
However, the 28-year-old Williams found a perfect partner in Craig Ervine (42). They put up a 83-run partnership for the sixth wicket to not only bail the team out of trouble but also put their country in a commanding position.
They made most of the third Powerplay overs between 35-40 and scored at a very good pace o bring the team into contention.
After Ervine departed, skipper Elton chigumbura (14) nicely supported Williams, who was hitting boundaries at ease. His 19th One-Day Intertiol (ODI) fifty ensured that Zimbabwe win their opener against the Cup debutants.
For the UAE, Tauqir picked up 2/51, while veed, Amjad Javed, Aziz anbd Krish Chandran took a wicket apiece.
Earlier, two 82-run partnerships — between Chandran (34) and Khurram Khan (45 for the third wicket and between Anwar and S.P. Patil (32) for the fifth wicket was the reason pushed the UAE to such a highly competitive total. IANS