Sean Williams produced another blistering innings to inspire Zimbabwe to their second successive win in the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier B with a 23-run success against minnows Jersey at Queens Sports Club on Tuesday.
Barely 24 hours after marking his return to the national team following a six-month absence by scoring 53 runs, Williams again validated his importance with another match-winning knock.
The 35-year-old left-hander hit an entertaining 57 runs off 39 balls as Zimbabwe laboured to 146 for eight before the hosts’ bowlers put on a good show to restrict Jersey 123 for five in their allotted 20 overs.
Zimbabwe and the USA, who beat Singapore by 132 runs in the other Group A match are now guaranteed places in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup qualifier with one more round of group matches left while Jersey and Singapore have bowed out of contention.
Earlier Jersey won the toss and elected to bowl – a decision which looked good as they claimed three early wickets of skipper Craig Ervine (4), Regis Chakabva (6) and Wessley Madhevere (1) to leave Zimbabwe in trouble at 37 for off 5.4 overs.
However, Williams – who had scored 53 against Singapore on Monday rescued Zimbabwe’s innings with a crucial knock which featured seven fours.
He put on 52 runs for the fourth wicket with Sikandar Raza but just when he seemed to take control he was clean bowled by Dominic Blampied with his first delivery which left the hosts on 89-4 with eight overs left.
Raza, who hit 87 against Singapore followed soon after as he was caught by Julius Sumerauer off the bowling of Ben Ward for 18, to leave Zimbabwe 95-5 with six-and-a-half overs to go.
The hosts lost two more quick wickets before Luke Jongwe crashed 26 runs off the final two overs, his unbeaten 29 off 13 balls dragging his side’s score up to a defendable 146 for eight.
Tendai Chatara continued his good form after removing opener Nicholas Greenwood early in the fourth over with just 21 runs on the board for Jersey.
However, the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers was leg spinner Ryan Burl, who struck thrice in each of his last three overs, finishing with returns of three wickets for 13 runs.
That put the pressure on Jersey who were reduced to 67/4 in the 14th over.
Opener Harrison Carlyon was leading the attack, and he found a reliable partner in Benjamin Ward. However, their 52-run stand was broken in the final over as Carlyon departed for 45. Jersey fell 24 runs short of the target with Ward unbeaten on 35.