Easy as 123 for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe notched their first win of this World Cup as they inflicted a 175-run defeat on Canada in the Group A clash at Nagpur.
Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine, with 98 and 85 respectively, helped Zimbabwe recover from a torrid start via a 181-run stand and, despite leg-spinner Balaji Rao's four wickets, the Africans posted a commanding 298 for nine.
Spin claimed all 10 Canada wickets as Ray Price, whose eight overs cost only 16, and Graeme Cremer picked up three apiece while Prosper Utseya and Greg Lamb each grabbed a brace to bowl the minnows out for 123 in 42.1 overs.
Despite Zimbabwe opting to bat, Khurram Chohan gave Canada the perfect start by trapping Brendan Taylor in front with the first ball of the match. Charles Coventry soon fell in the same fashion to Harvir Baidwan to leave Zimbabwe seven for two.
Taibu restored order for his side, racing to a 46-ball fifty, as he and Ervine ensured Zimbabwe cruised through the middle overs.
Ervine smashed six fours and two sixes in an 81-ball innings, which ended when the left-hander inside-edged Balaji onto his pad and was caught behind.
Three wickets fell in as many overs as Rizwan Cheema had captain Elton Chigumbura caught behind, again via pad, and Taibu perished attempting to go to three figures in style. The right-hander top-edged a slog-sweep off Balaji to deep midwicket having struck nine fours from 99 balls.
Zimababwe continued to score at around a run a ball in their remaining overs despite the losing regular wickets.
Lamb played on to Balaji, who struck again when Sean Williams swept onto his stumps to depart for 30 from 25 balls. Utseya holed out to deep square-leg for 22 off Chohan and Cremer played on to Harvir Baidwan for 26 from 23 deliveries.
In reply, Canada also lost an opener without scoring when Price beat John Davison’s charge to bowl the dangerman.
Worse followed as the left-arm spinner had Nitish Kumar - at 16 years and 283 days the youngest World Cup player - caught and bowled and Ashish Bagai held at square-leg in consecutive deliveries.
Jimmy Hansra survived the hat-trick ball and mounted a recovery courtesy of a 43-run partnership with Ruvindu Gunasekera. However, they departed in successive overs; stumped off Utseya for 20 and playing on to Lamb for 24 respectively.
Cheema struck two fours and a six but perished for 14 attempting another maximum when he could only divert Utseya’s full toss to short fine-leg.
Cremer trapped Tyson Gordon and Chohan in front eight overs although only 21 runs apart
Zubin Surkari top-scored for Canada with 26 but he was stumped off a Lamb leg-side wide before Cremer bowled Balaji to complete a resounding win.
Price said: "I wouldn't mind taking that wicket with me, it is fun out there. "Never complain when you come to India as a spinner."
Chigumbura said: "I thought Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine put us back in the game, they applied themselves really well.
"Unfortunately, we didn't finish the way we wanted to but we had a big partnership and put up a good score. I thought our bowlers also were fantastic.