Zimbabwe targeting winning start against Nepal

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Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine and Wessly Madhevere in action for the Chevrons recently

Zimbabwe will be seeking a winning start in their bid to return to the game’s most prestigious competition when they get their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier campaign underway against Nepal at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.

With each match in the 10-team qualifying competition carrying huge significance, Zimbabwe will be eager to avoid any slipups in their big to secure one of the two available tickets to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 which will be held in India later this year.

Zimbabwe have very bitter memories of their previous edition of the qualifiers in 2019 following a heartbreaking loss to UAE in their decisive Super Six clash.

The Chevrons, who have several players who were part of the team four years ago, will thus be eager to get the job done starting against Nepal.

Nepal have in recent months proved that they are no pushovers.

The Asian side booked their side qualified for the final stage of the World Cup qualifiers with an impressive record of 11 wins from their last 12 matches in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2, pipping Namibia by a point to advance.

The Chevrons, who are set to be cheered on by a capacity crowd on Sunday, will however back themselves to comfortably brush aside Nepal’s challenge.

The Dave Houghton-coached side has been in good form ahead of the qualifiers after securing morale-boosting wins against Oman and Scotland in both of their warm-up games last week.

Sikandar Raza was in good form for Zimbabwe during their warmup matches against Oman and Scotland last week

Star all-rounder Sikandar Raza was impressive against Oman at Takashinga after scoring an unbeaten century to retire on 110 not out from 67 balls before taking three for 43 with the ball.

The 37-year-old star then returned to top score for Zimbabwe against Scotland at Old Hararians Sports Club after the Zimbabwe bowlers had put on an impressive display to dismiss their opponents for just 163 runs.

Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine, who has also been in good form with the bat ahead of the qualifiers said he was satisfied by the preparations ahead of their opening match against Nepal.

“Preparations have been excellent leading up to the tournament,” Ervine said.

“There is some really exciting cricket coming up and exciting players to watch in Sikandar Raza, Blessing Muzarabani and Sean Williams. It’s going to be a great tournament.”

Also on the opening matchday, two-time champions West Indies face neighbours United States at Takashinga. All matches commence at 09h00 local time.

The Netherlands are the final team from Group A and will play their opening match on Tuesday against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club.

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