Zimbabwe earned themselves an easier semi-final date against Papua New Guinea after finishing top of Group of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier with a convincing 46-run victory over USA at Queens Sports Club on Thursday.
After maintaining their 100% record in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifier B group stages Zimbabwe managed to avoid a tricky semi-final clash with Group B winners Netherlands.
Zimbabwe will be looking to book their first World Cup ticket since 2016 if they beat the Group B runners-up Papua New Guinea at the same venue on Friday afternoon.
Papua New Guinea reached semi-finals despite a dramatic last-ball Group B loss to Hong Kong on Thursday.
On Thursday, Zimbabwe needed a brilliant bowling spell Wellington Masakadza who took four wickets for 11 in three overs to curtail USA’s flying start as they chased a competitive 186 run target.
The hosts had won the toss and elected with Sikandar Raza leading the charge with a quickfire unbeaten 82 from 40 balls while Sean Williams (37) and Regis Chakabva (31) were also in good form as Zimbabwe lost six wickets in the process.
Spinner Nisarg Patel was the peak of the bowlers for the USA recording figures of two for 24 while Aaron James bagged two wickets for 37.
USA’s run chase had a dream start as they openers Steven Taylor and captain Monank Patel piled on 50 runs in the first five overs for no loss.
But Richard Ngarava removed Patel with the scores on 55 in the final powerplay over and the USA’s struggles began.
USA were 79 for two after 10 overs after Williams had sent Jones packing before the Masakadza show began as he took four wickets for just 11 runs in three overs.
Zimbabwe managed to restrict their opponents to 138 for 8 after Ryan Burl and Luke Jongwe grabbed a wicket apiece.
In the other semi-final Netherlands who also managed to maintain perfect record in the group stages entertain USA at Bulawayo Athletic Club.
The teams that make it into the final, scheduled for Sunday at Queens Sports Club, will clinch the two remaining spots at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 to be held in Australia in October.