"Later on when the sun came out, it was totally different and it was quite easy to bat on. The toss is really important in these games, but that's not in our hand, there's nothing we can do about that." Host Zimbabwe lead the early Group B table, though, after their 116-run thrashing of Nepal, while the United Arab Emirates and Ireland got off to winning starts in Group A against Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands respectively.
Sensational Scotland shock Afghanistan on the first day of #CWCQ, MacLeod's magical 157* securing a famous 7 wicket win in Bulawayo!#AFGvSCO REPORT ➡️ https://t.co/uJZa384qax pic.twitter.com/vrO7r7Bf1m— ICC (@ICC) March 4, 2018
The 10 teams in Zimbabwe are fighting it out for only two places alongside the world's top eight ODI sides at next year's World Cup in England and Wales. A famous Scotland win looked unlikely when 16-year-old Afghan leg-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman dismissed openers Matthew Cross and Kyle Coetzer inside the first six overs. But Richie Berrington joined MacLeod at the crease as the pair put on a 208-run stand to see off Afghanistan and gain a measure of revenge for their narrow defeat by the same opposition at the 2015 World Cup.
Hosts Zimbabwe claim an opening day win at #CWCQ! Nepal can only reach 264/8 in response to Zimbabwe's giant 380/6 led by fantastic centuries by Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor.#ZIMvNEP scorecard ➡️ https://t.co/138h9QIA5c pic.twitter.com/dxlL6cIbWP— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) March 4, 2018
Elsewhere, Zimbabwe restored some confidence after their 4-1 series defeat by Afghanistan last month by crushing Nepal as both Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor hit hundreds. Wicket-keeper Taylor managed an even 100, but the headlines were grabbed by all-rounder Raza's 66-ball 123 that featured nine maximums. Nepal battled bravely in reply but never threatened Zimbabwe's massive total of 380-6, as Raza added 3-48 with his off-spin in a virtuoso individual display. Ireland, who have beaten Pakistan, England and the West Indies over the last three World Cups, got off to an impressive start with a comfortable 93-run win in a weather-shortened game against the Dutch.
Throw your expectations for this tournament out of the window - Scotland defeat Afghanistan! A special 208 run partnership between @calummacleod640 and @Berrington44 fire their side to a famous 7 wicket win in Bulawayo!#AFGvSCO scorecard ➡️ https://t.co/Ca88BNBMGq pic.twitter.com/RAMquJ2nqq— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) March 4, 2018
Andy Balbirnie's 68 led the Irish to 268-7, before Tim Murtagh took three wickets as the Netherlands slumped to 149 all out in pursuit of 243 from 41 overs. The UAE, who gave two-time world champion the West Indies a scare in a warm-up match earlier in the week, had little trouble in brushing aside Papua New Guinea to edge ahead of Ireland at the top of Group A on net run rate.
Ireland defeat Netherlands in their #CWCQ opener in Harare! A shared bowling effort dismisses Netherlands for 149, Ireland winning by 93 runs (DLS method)! #IREvNED scorecard ➡️ https://t.co/cYe04seJFw pic.twitter.com/AfE4qN8fA4— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) March 4, 2018
BRIEF SCORES: Ireland 268 for 7 in 50 overs (Balbirnie 68, Der Gugten 3-59) beat Netherlands 149 all out in 32.2 overs (Murtagh 3-28) by 93 runs (DLS) United Arab Emirates 221 all out from 49.4 overs (Mustafa 95, Ahmed 50, Vanua 4-39) beat Papua New Guinea 113 all out in 25.5 overs (Naveed 5-28) by 56 runs (DLS) Afghanistan 255 all out in 49.4 overs (Nabi 92, Zadran 67; Wheal 3-36, Berrington 3-42) lost to Scotland 256 for 3 in 47.2 overs (MacLeod 157* , Berrington 67) by seven wickets Zimbabwe 380 for 6 in 50 overs (Raza 123, Taylor 100, Mire 52) beat Nepal 264 for 8 in 50 overs (Vesawkar 52, Sheikh 50; Raza 3-48) by 116 runs
Mohammad Naveed takes a maiden ODI five-for as UAE dismiss PNG for 113 at Harare Sports Club to win by 56 runs (DLS method) #CWCQ #PNGvUAE scorecard ➡️ https://t.co/LV4sCeD3Ji pic.twitter.com/xxnWVtPgUO— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) March 4, 2018