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Taibu shines as Zimbabwe rout Canada

NAGPUR, February 28- Tatenda Taibu just missed a maiden World Cup century while Raymond Price grabbed three early wickets as Zimbabwe crushed hapless Canada by 175 runs for their first win in Group A on Monday.

Zimabwe were indebted to former captain Taibu (98) and Craig Ervine (85) for posting 298-9 before dismissing Canada for a paltry 123, with left-arm spinner Price finishing with 3-16 off eight tight overs.

The African nation, who lost to Australia in their opener, virtually reduced the match to a no-contest when Price, sharing the new ball for a second successive game, took three wickets in his opening three overs.

The spinner bowled John Davison, the oldest player in the tournament at 40, before accounting for 16-year-old Nitish Kumar, the youngest player to feature in a World Cup, and skipper Ashish Bagai as Canada teetered at 7-3.

Kumar, who needed permission from his school to take a month off for the event, contributed just one before offering a return catch.

Leg-spinner Graeme Cremer (3-31), and off-spinners Prosper Utseya (2-24) and Greg Lamb (2-29) then built on Price’s superb effort as Canada continued to struggle against spin to suffer their second successive defeat.

Zubin Surkari (26), Ruvindu Gunasekera (24) and Jimmy Hansra (20) were the main scorers in Canada’s dismal batting performance.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura said victory had reignited their chances of making the quarter-finals.

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"We are still in the running for the next stage. The big game is against New Zealand, we will have put in our best performance," he said.

Canada captain Ashish Bagai said he had been happy to field first.

"We started well, but we went on to bowl both sides of the wicket. They then kept getting wickets every over," said Bagai.

Taibu and Ervine earlier dominated the Canadian attack with impressive strokeplay to add 181 for the third wicket after their team had lost both the openers for seven runs.

Zimbabwe made a shaky start after electing to bat as Khurram Chohan trapped Brendan Taylor lbw off the first delivery of the match and Harvir Baidwan dismissed Charles Coventry for four.

But Canada had to wait nearly 28 overs for their next success as Taibu and Ervine applied themselves.

India-born leg-spinner Balaji Rao broke the partnership when he had Ervine caught behind, but not before the batsman had smashed two sixes and six fours in an 81-ball knock for his second half-century in one-day internationals.

Rao finished with a career-best 4-57 off 10 overs.

Taibu looked set to complete his third one-day hundred before slog-sweeping Rao to Davison at deep mid-wicket after hitting nine fours in his 99-ball knock.

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"I wasn’t really thinking about getting to 100. I was really thinking about the position of the team," said Taibu.

When asked about the team’s score, he said: "We’re quite happy. That was our target in the morning, to get around 290/300 and anything past that was a bonus."

Sean Williams (30), Cremer (26) and Utseya (22) also made useful contributions to help their side set a stiff target.

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