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Zimbabwe’s World Cup hopes diminish



THE Zimbabwe national women’s cricket team’s hopes of qualifying for their maiden ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand next year suffered a setback after losing the opening qualifying match against Thailand by eight runs at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

With tougher matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh ahead, the Lady Chevrons desperately needed to beat Thailand yesterday and the US on Thursday and hope for a favourable result against the two top-ranked sides.

In the end, they will reflect on a missed opportunity after being restricted to 239 for five in pursuit of Thailand’s 247 in their allotted 50 overs.

The Lady Chevrons, who were buoyed by half-centuries from skipper Mary-Anne Musonda (69) and Josephine Nkomo (56), were in the game for long periods before wilting at the end against the visitors’ all-spin attack.

Earlier Thailand won the toss and elected to bat in overcast conditions which were expected to favour Zimbabwe’s seam bowlers.

However, the decision to bat first proved to be an inspired by the Thais as they recovered after losing an early wicket in the second over.

The trio of Natthakan Chatantham (48), wicketkeeper batter Nannapat Koncharoenkai (47) and Sornnarin Tippoch (40) combined to ensure the Asian side posted a challenging

Loreen Tshuma was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers with two wickets for 35 runs in 10 overs while debutant Fransisca Chipare also claimed two wickets for 50 runs.

Zimbabwe began their pursuit of Thailand’s target well with openers Modester Mupachikwa and Sharne Mayers combining for an opening partnership stand of 49 runs before the former was caught at slip on 27 runs.

Mayers looked on course to score her maiden ODI half-century after being dropped twice on six and on 43, but ultimately she came up three runs short of reaching the milestone.

The arrival of Musonda after Mayers’ dismissal gave the hosts hope as she combined for a 77 run partnership stand with Nkomo, who overcame an injury scare to score her second ODI half-century.

Nkomo’s dismissal in the 41st over proved to be the turning point in the match as Thailand’s spinners turned the screws on Zimbabwe’s batters which meant Musonda’s unbeaten knock of 69 off 65 deliveries was in vain.

Zimbabwe now face the US in a must-win game at Takashinga Sports Club on Thursday.

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