Williams out of Afghan showdown

ZIMBABWE national team captain Graeme Cremer yesterday said that all-rounder Sean Williams will not be able to make it for tomorrow’s big clash against Afghanistan in Group B of the International Cricket Council World Cup qualifier.

BY KEVIN MAPASURE IN BULAWAYO

Williams is recovering from a broken finger and is only likely to be available for selection the last match of the Group against Scotland on Monday.
Cremer said that his unavailability was a setback for Zimbabwe, who would have benefitted from his spin bowling. “I can’t see him playing any of the next two games, and its quit unfortunate for us because we would have wanted him not only because of his batting in the middle order but his bowling as well,” Cremer said.

“But we are not rushing him there are still more games coming after that.” Zimbabwe recorded a 116 run win over Nepal in their opening match, while favourites Afghanistan were surprised by Scotland, who emerged with a seven wicket victory.

Cremer said the Scotland win came to him as a surprise but he was glad that the Group had been thrown wide open.

“It was quite a surprise, Afghanistan are a strong side and they have a very good batting line up so for Scotland to win that match it was quite exceptional and it throws this Group wide open.”

He was pleased with the way Zimbabwe batted in their match against Nepal where they posted 380 runs with Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza scoring centuries while Solomon Mire had a half ton.

“Runs is something that we have always been asking for from the top order batsmen and the way Solomon Mire and Cephas Zhuwao came out and batted gave us a good platform. And then Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza came in and were quite sensational in the way they batted. It was really nice for us to come out and produce such a performance.”

Raza who scored 123 runs said that the criticism that the team has been getting spurred him on to produce such a performance.

“The messages that we have been receiving have been painful, so today we just wanted to send out a message out there and remove all that negativity,” Raza said. “But the real heroes for me are Mire and Zhuwao with the way they batted upfront it just made things a bit easier for me and Brendan after that.”

Nepal captain Paras Khadka said that Raza batted his team out of the match.

“I think Zimbabwe batted exceptionally well, we can’t say we didn’t bowl well but we tried everything and took our chances. Raza and Taylor were exceptional and for me Raza was the difference he came in and batted us out. In the end it was such a big score and chasing that was always going to be tough.”

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