A devastating opening spell from left-arm spinner Ray Price spurred Zimbabwe to a crushing 175-run victory over Canada in their World Cup Group A match.
Zimbabwe canter to easy victory over Canada
Zimbabwe 298 for nine; Canada 123 all out. Zimbabwe win by 175 runs
NAGPUR // A devastating opening spell from left-arm spinner Ray Price spurred Zimbabwe to a crushing 175-run victory over Canada in their World Cup Group A match. After setting Canada a daunting 299 for victory, Zimbabwe made sure they maintained their perfect record against the North Americans by skittling them for 123.
Price removed John Davison (0), Nitish Kumar (1) and Ashish Bagai (0) to leave the Canadians reeling on seven for three and they never recovered from the setback.
Bagai's team had crawled to 14 runs after the first 10 overs and facing a required run-rate of 7.12 at that stage, the result was all but a foregone conclusion.
Ruvindu Gunasekera scored a painstakingly slow 24 off 64 balls and when Greg Lamb dislodged his bails with a rather tame delivery, the Zimbabwean was rewarded with a sweaty cheek-to-cheek rub from one of his delighted teammates.
Price finished with figure of three for 16.
While Zimbabwe recorded their first win in this World Cup, Canada seem destined to catch an early flight home after being subjected to a second successive hammering.
Earlier, Tatenda Taibu (98 from 99 balls) and Craig Ervine (85 off 81 balls) rescued Zimbabwe from a terrible start to propel the Africans to a total of 298 for nine.
In a clash between the tournament's two whipping boys, Zimbabwe looked as if they were going to suffer a bad case of stage-fright despite a nearly empty Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium as they too were reduced to seven for two.
Canada's Khurram Chohan struck with the first ball of the match when he had Brendan Taylor trapped lbw, a verdict that was confirmed by the review system.
The Canadians shouts once again echoed around the 40,000-seater arena when Charles Coventry (4) fell lbw to Harvir Baidwan in the fourth over, leaving Zimbabwe facing an uphill task to post a respectable total against a team of part-timers.
However, once Taibu and Ervine came to the crease, they steadied the innings with an 181-run partnership for the third wicket by playing some smart cricket.
Ervine was dismissed when he offered an inside edge to wicketkeeper Bagai while Taibu fell attempting a slog-sweep to bring up his century. His mis-timed effort, also off Balaji Rao, went straight to John Davison at deep midwicket.
Rao finished with four for 57.