Nelson | Sean Williams’ timely knock of 76 helped Zimbabwe beat a determined UAE by four wickets here today, giving the African nation their first win of the cricket World Cup.
Williams’ unbeaten innings off 65 balls made the difference as Zimbabwe chased down the 286-run target in 48 overs. Put in to bat, UAE posed a competitive 285 for seven which happened to be their highest ODI total.
UAE complimented their batting by making life difficult for Zimbabwe batsmen until a 83-run sixth-wicket stand between Williams and Craig Ervine (42 runs off 32 balls) took the game away from the team playing its first World Cup since 1996.
UAE sensed a famous win with Zimbabwe needing 109 off the last 90 balls and half their side back in the pavilion. That was when the experience of Williams and Ervine came into play.
They took the attack to the opposition which appeared to run out of steam after putting up a spirited show for the majority of the game. The dangerous left-handed pairing blasted 45 runs in the powerplay between 36-40 overs to ease off the pressure.
Though Ervine got out, Williams ensured there were no further hiccups. He finished the contest in style, smashing Mohammed Naveed for three consecutive fours. Overall, he collected seven fours and a six in his 18th fifty in 71 ODIs.
Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura (14*) took his team home alongside Williams. The win puts Zimbabwe Cup campaign back on track after the loss in their opener against South Africa.
Earlier, UAE batsman Shaiman Anwar hammered a career-best 67 off 50 balls after Krishna Chandran (34), Khurram Khan (45) and Swapnil Patil (32) laid the foundation for a competitive total. Medium pacer Tendai Chatara (3/42) was the stand out bowler for Zimbabwe.
UAE achieved their highest ODI total by surpassing the 282 they made against Afghanistan last year.
Pakistan-born Anwar, playing his eighth ODI, hit nine boundaries and reached his fifty with a straight six over the bowler’s head.
His 82-run partnership with Patil for the fifth wicket was a record for UAE.
Zimbabwe, opting to field at the scenic Saxton Oval, did not impress with the new ball the way they did in their fighting loss against South Africa.
The African team had reduced the opposition to 40 for two by the 11th over before the UAE middle-order rose to the occasion.
Amjad Javed (25*) and Mohammad Naveed (23*) provided the late burst with a 53-run stand off 41 balls for the eight wicket.