Sean Williams stars in Zimbabwe win over UAE
Sean Williams bailed Zimbabwe out of trouble with an unbeaten 76 that helped his side beat the United Arab Emirates by four wickets in their World Cup 2015 Pool B encounter played at the Saxon Oval, Nelson on Thursday.
Zimbabwe's captain Elton Chigumbura won the toss and elected to bowl first, on an easy-paced surface. UAE's batsmen made the most of favourable batting conditions and five of their top-six batsmen got runs.
Tendai Chatara was the pick of Zimbabwe's bowlers and claimed three wickets in his nine-over spell. Solomon Mire and Williams chipped in, with two-wickets each, but their less-accomplished opponents impressed with the bat.
Shaiman Anwar top-scored for UAE and thumped 67 runs from just 50 balls. UAE posted an impressive 285 in their innings.
Zimbabwe's openers, Sikandar Raza and Regis Chakabva, got their side off to a solid start. The duo added 64 runs for the first wicket, before Raza fell. Hamilton Masakadza followed him three-overs later.
Chakabva and Brendon Taylor then added 30 runs, before the former was dismissed. The dismissal brought Williams to the crease.
The right hander began cautiously, as his side lost wickets regularly at the other end. He finally found an able partner, in Craig Ervine, and seized the initiative from UAE. The pair added 83 runs for the sixth wicket and got their side closer to the target.
Williams played impressively and clubbed seven fours and one six in his innings. He lost his partner Ervine in the 43rd over, but that didn't affect the momentum. Williams and Chigumbura took their side home, with 12 balls to spare.
"I tried not to feel the pressure," Williams said. "We lost wickets at the wrong stages, but the wicket was very good just to keep knocking the ball down the ground. The coach and I have been trying to talk about the sweeps [not playing them so much]. I've been trying to punch it down the ground and build innings. Some of their guys bowled really well to us, credit to them for making it difficult for us. Wicket was very good, to play straight. Anything across the line was difficult. Started to lose pace towards the end."