Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
SEAN WILLIAMS sizzled with the bat yesterday with a new record for Zimbabwe’s fastest One Day International ton as the Chevrons cruised to a series win over United Arab Emirates at Harare Sport Club yesterday.
Zimbabwe took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four match series following yesterday’’s 131-run win.
The Chevrons underlined their dominance in the series when they raked up 307/4 after they were sent in to bat for the first time in this series.
Williams’’ unbeaten 109 and half tons from skipper PJ Moor (58*) and Craig Ervine (64), complemented by a fine outing by the bowlers, capped a brilliant all-round performance by the Chevrons in front of a vociferous crowd that kept swelling in numbers as the day wore on.
Ryan Burl rallied the hosts late on with his career best bowling figures of 4/32 from his leg spin after Kyle Jarvis had given Zimbabwe the head-start with two early wickets. UAE were bowled out for 176 in 46. 2 overs.
Williams was named Man of the Match for his third ODI century. The middle order batsman was excited by the knock although he wasn’t aware he had set a new record.
Zimbabwe, who won the first two matches comfortably, recovered from an early setback after opener Regis Chakabva edged to the wicketkeeper at the end of the second over.
Craig Ervine (64) and Solomon Mire (40) managed to put together the innings with a 104–run partnership for the second wicket. UAE were also their own enemies in the field because of the numerous gaffes.
Williams, who went on to be the destroyer-in-chief, got a lease of life in the 31st over when UAE skipper Mohammad Naveed dropped a sitter with the left hander still on 31 runs.
The middle order batsman had wanted to hit out Ashfaq Ahmed but he swept with the top edge high into the sky. Naveed was well positioned to take the catch but somehow he failed to hold on to the ball.
Williams, who had already begun taking steps back to the pavilion, could not believe his luck when the ground erupted in delirium after the dropped catch.
Zimbabwe were still looking good at 160/3 when the incident took place. However Zimbabwe could not hold on much longer with the partnership as Naveed returned to remove Sikandar Raza (18).
On the other hand, Williams continued to punish the opponents for their earlier mistake with a couple of big hits. The 32-year old got to his half ton in style with two sixes off the same bowler, Ahmed, in the 38th over.
Later on he had his bat and helmet in the air celebrating his 100 from 77 deliveries, with skipper PJ Moor for company. Moor, who is also enjoying a purple patch, was on song at the other end with a well scripted half ton and the pair ensured Zimbabwe crossed the 300-run mark. The pair contributed an unbroken 145 runs off 113 balls for the fifth wicket to help their team to 307 in their allotted 50 overs.
The Zimbabwe bowlers had UAE on the back foot early in the game after Jarvis struck twice to remove Ashfaq Ahmed and Ghulam Shabber before Chris Mpofu got Rohan Mustafa to leave the visitors reeling on 15/3 in the sixth over.
There was a sustained resistance when Chundangapoyil Rizwan and Shaiman Anwar added 44 runs for the fourth wicket but the latter was trapped lbw by Donald Tiripano and the scoreboard was reading 61/4.
The visitors still looked determined to bat through their overs although the game had always been beyond them from the start of the chase. The fifth wicket partnership between Rizwan and Muhammad Usman was a handful for the hosts. But Rizwan (47) just missed his half ton when he was caught by Ervine off the bowling of Burl to end a 65-run stand.
Still UAE were in some kind of trouble at 126/5 in the middle of the 37th over and the spinners Burl and Raza (2/44) played a big role cleaning up the tail.