Experienced all-rounders Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams smashed entertaining half-centuries to propel Zimbabwe to a dominant 111-run victory over Singapore in their opening ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier Group A match at Queens Sports Club on Monday.
Raza was named man of the match after top scoring with 87 runs of 40 balls while Williams marked his return to international cricket with a fine knock of 53 off 35 balls as Zimbabwe posted a massive 236 for five in their allotted 20 overs.
Seamer Tendai Chatara led Zimbabwe’s bowling effort by claiming three wickets for 15 runs in four overs as Singapore wilted to 127 for five in reply.
After losing the toss and being sent in to bat, first Zimbabwe took control of the match instantly with some aggressive batting by the new opening batting partnership of skipper Craig Ervine (34 from 16) and wicketkeeper batsman Regis (24 off 12).
The experienced pair, playing with freedom and aggression which new head coach Dave Houghton had been emphasising before the tournament, helped Zimbabwe off to a great start with the fifty partnership coming in the fourth over.
Singapore fought back by dismissing Chakabva and Ervine soon after and Wesley Madhevere returned back early for just two runs.
However some entertaining counter attacking batting from the experienced duo of Williams and Raza ensured the hosts seized control of the match.
Raza, who is fresh from a succesful spell in Bangladesh, smashed eight fours and five big sixes in an utterly dominant batting display and will feel he missed out on what would have been a brilliant half cetury after being dismissed in the penultimatee over.
Williams on the other hand hardly looked like someone who had not played international cricket in over six month with a delightful knock which was highlighted by five fours and a six.
The experienced pair shared a fourth wicket partnership stand of 103 runs to power Zimbabwe to a massive 236 for five.
Singapore struggled to dominate Zimbabwe’s bowling attack which was marshalled by the experienced Chatara, who delivered one of his best individual performances for the national team in a while.
Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani gave the hosts the ideal start by claiming a wicket in his first over before going on to claim two wickets for 21 runs as Singapore suffocated under pressure in the big chase.
The result gave new Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton a win in his first game in charge.
Zimbabwe, who have set themselves the target of winning the qualifying tournament will be hoping for a similarly dominant performance when they face Jersey in their second match tomorrow at the same venue.
Jersey got their campaign off to a difficult start after losing their opening match against USA by eight wickets at Bulawayo Athletic Club.