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Windies strengthen World Cup qualification chance with four-wicket win over Zimbabwe

Marlon Samuels (right) played a match-winning performance
Marlon Samuels (right) played a match-winning performance

Windies 290-6 (Samuels 86) beat
Zimbabwe 289 (Taylor 138) by four wickets
Match 5, Super Sixes, ICC World Cup Qualifiers, Harare

Marlon Samuels, Shai Hope and Evin Lewis all scored half-centuries as Windies strengthened their chances of a World Cup Qualification spot with a four-wicket win over Zimbabwe chasing 290 runs in the fifth game of the Super Sixes in Harare.

Windies now have moved to the top of the table with six points while Zimbabwe's first defeat in the tournament means they need to win the final game against UAE to keep their hope of top two finish alive.

Chasing a formidable total of 290, Lewis (64) hit two boundaries in the third over to set the proceedings while Chris Gayle (17) smashed two maximums in the fourth over as Windies got off to a promising start.

Blessing Muzarabani (2-36) dented the visitors' momentum when he had Gayle caught at third man but Windies still had a productive powerplay of 54 for one.

With two boundaries in the 18th over, Lewis completed a 50-run stand with Hope (76) and also reached his own half-century. Windies crossed the 100-run mark in the 20th over and looked on track in the chase before Sikandar Raza (1-58) held a return catch to send Lewis back.

However, Zimbabwe failed to capitalise on the opening as Hope went to add another 135 run stand for the third wicket with Samuels (86) with the latter being the aggressor among the two.

Hope reached his fifty off 71 deliveries but the acceleration came in the 36th over when Samuels hit two sixes off Raza and even reached his half-century off 54 deliveries. Samuels continued his scintillating strokeplay smashing Graeme Cremer (2-63) for two more sixes and a four in the 39th over and Windies were left with 73 to get off the final 10 overs with eight wickets in hand.

Even though Zimbabwe made a brief comeback with the wickets of Hope, Samuels, Shimron Hetmyer (13) and Jason Holder (6), Rovman Powell (15 not out) held his nerve and played a crucial 12-ball knock to see the team through.

Earlier, it was one man show for Zimbabwe with Brendan Taylor (138) scoring his second century of the tournament and plundered 20 boundaries and two sixes before Kemar Roach (3-55), Holder (4-35) and Keemo Paul (2-55) restricted the hosts to 289.

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