Zim clinch WC spot

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BY  Kevin Mapasure in Bulawayo
The Zimbabwe national cricket team, The Chevrons, sealed their place at this year’s T-20 World Cup finals in Australia after winning their semifinal clash of the qualifying tournament against Papua New Guinea (PNG) with 27 runs at Queens Sports Club here yesterday.

They will play the final of this tournament at the same venue against Netherlands, who eliminated the United States of America to clinch the second ticket to the global showcase.

The primary goal for the hosts was to qualify for the Australia finals but tomorrow’s clash against the Dutch remains important in as much as it determines which group Zimbabwe will be placed at the finals.

This tournament has always been viewed as a potential banana skin but Zimbabwe have breezed through showing the difference in class with their opponents.

Yesterday, like they have done throughout this tournament, Zimbabwe came into the match with a positive approach looking to dominate with both bat and ball.

After winning the toss, they batted their opponents out of the game after putting 199 runs on the board with everyone making a worthy contribution.

However, for long periods in PNG’s chase, the match turned out to be a nail bitter particularly when Tony Ura was at crease.

Ura, who was named man of the match, clobbered 66 runs from just 35 balls with four fours and five mighty maximums which induced nerves among the crowd.

For a while he quietened the otherwise singing and gyrating fans as he took his side above the required rate, threatening to inspire a shock result.

He batted with ease, picking through the gaps against both spin and seam and for moments he threatened the otherwise imposing total that had been put up by Zimbabwe.

Captain Craig Ervine then gave the ball to Sean Williams in the 14th over and the lefthand spinner worked the magic to bowl out the PNG star.

This really was the turning point, with Zimbabwe applying the brakes on the PNG chase from there on while picking up wickets.

Charles Amini scored 31 as PNG made 172 for 8 in 20 overs.

Seamer Blessing Muzarabani (2 for 24) retained the best figures for Zimbabwe but this was more of a team effort with everyone who bowled contributing in their own way as had been the case with the bat.

Richard Ngarava, Sean Williams, Wessley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Luke Jongwe and Sean Williams all picked a wicket each as Zimbabwe took key wickets in key moments to maintain a grip on the match.

Earlier Madhevere, who was recalled to replace Innocent Kaia, top scored for Zimbabwe with 42 runs with everyone else who had a go getting into double figures.

Ervine was afforded three lives and managed 38 runs while Chakabva (30), Raza (22), Williams (22), Milton Shumba (29) and Ryan Burl (10) all made meaningful contributions.

Zimbabwe Team: Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Wessley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams,  Milton Shumba, Ryan Burl, Wellington Masakadza, Luke Jongwe, Richard Ngarava, Blessing Muzarabani

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