Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holders sensational pace bowling helped West Indies beat Zimbabwe by 31 runs on Wednesday (October 19) here at Blundstone Arena. With a win in a virtual knock-out game in round one, the two-time champions stay afloat in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. Joseph picked up a four-for. While all-rounder Holder returned with a three-for.

After posting 153 for seven after electing to bat first, the Nicholas Pooran-led side bundled Zimbabwe out for 122 in 18.2 overs as Joseph picked up a four-for. While all-rounder Holder returned with a three-for.

Sikandar Raza show all over again

Despite losing opener Kyle Mayers early, West Indies started well as Johnson Charles and Evin Lewis shared a crucial partnership for the second wicket. However, with the introduction of spin, the floodgates were opened for the batting side as a flurry of wickets started going down.

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All-rounder Sikandar Raza did the bulk of the damage, ending with figures of 3/19 in his four overs. He broke the stand between Lewis and Charles, with the wicket of the opener. Charles also departed for 45 after a mix-up with Rovman Powell, leading to a run-out.

West Indies found themselves struggling at 101/6, but a late flourish from Powell and Akeal Hosein allowed them to post a score of 153/7. Powell made 28, while Hosein was unbeaten on 23. Powell’s 104-meter-long maximum over deep midwicket put everyone in awe as the ball went out of the ground.

Rovman Powell and Akeal Hossain. Image: ICC

Zimbabwe skipper absent

Earlier, in a must-win encounter, West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran called it right at the toss and opted to bat first. The West Indies made one forced change, with Johnson Charles coming in for Brandon King in the batting order.

Zimbabwe were also been forced into a change, with skipper Craig Ervine missing the contest due to an illness. Regis Chakabva captains the side in his absence, with Tony Munyonga replacing him in the side.

West Indies fight after a fabulous start from Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe started off optimistically, knocking off 18 runs in the first over by Kyle Mayers and 11 runs in the next by Akeal Hosein. The introduction of Alzarri Joseph reaped rewards for the West Indies as the tall quick picked up two wickets in his first two overs.

Obed McCoy added another in the last over of the Powerplay and Zimbabwe were suddenly in a spot of bother. Raza came out all guns blazing, smashing a six early in his innings but a wild heave off Odean Smith shortly after forced him to take a long walk back.

Akeal Hosein sent back Milton Shumba while the dangerous Ryan Burl was trapped in front by Jason Holder to dent Zimbabwe further. A late fightback from Luke Jongwe was put to an end by Alzarri Joseph, who picked up 4/16, each of his dismissals splattering the stumps.

The net run rate factor

The late burst from Jongwe, where he hit 17 runs off one Odean Smith over, allowed Zimbabwe to get closer to the West Indies target even if they lost. In a group where the net run rate will likely become a factor later on, Scotland and Zimbabwe are in the top two with West Indies and Ireland following them. All four teams have two points apiece.