Nagpur: Even though Tatenda Taibu missed out his maiden World Cup century by just two runs, his fantastic batting helped Zimbabwe crush Canada by 175 runs in a Group A match on Monday.

Taibu added 181 runs for the third wicket with Craig Ervine to lay the foundation of Zimbabwe innings after batting first in the match famous as the 'Battle of Minnows' at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground at Jamtha.

Zimbabwe then shot out Canada for just 123 in 42.1 overs with left-arm spinner Raymond Price taking three wickets for just 16 runs from his eight overs. Leg-spinner Graeme Cremer also returned with figures of 3/31 as Canada failed to negotiate Zimbabwe slow bowlers.

Price sent back three top-order Canadian batsmen with less than 10 runs on the board. Cremer polished off the tail as Zimbabwe scored an easy win.

Canadian batsmen never showed any intent of trying to make a match out of it and it was all over within 10 overs of their run chase. Their display seemingly gave justification for ICC to curtail the number of teams to 10 in the nest edition of 50-over World Cup.

Nitish's discomfort was a proof enough that he is far from being ready for this level. Skipper Ashish Bagai (0) tried to play a sweep shot from the very first delivery he faced and perished.

Zimbabweans have not had such an easy ODI win in recent times and will surely boost their confidence in the coming World Cup matches.

For Canada, former Tamil Nadu spinner Balaji Rao was the pick of the bowlers grabbing four for 57. Harvir Baidwan and Khurram Chohan took two wickets apiece.

Although Balaji bowled a few long hops but he was not afraid of giving the ball air. He first got Ervine a bat-pad catch which was smartly taken by Bagai.

Taibu, who suddenly went quiet once he was in his 90s, was deceived by the flight and mistimed a sweep shot which was taken by Davison at mid-wicket.

Suddenly from 188 for two, Zimbabwe slumped to 240 for seven losing five wickets for 52 runs. But Prosper Utseya (22 off 29 balls) and Graeme Cremer (26 off 23 balls) added 41 useful runs for the eighth wicket to take the total near 300.

Bagai disappointed with team batting

Crushed by Zimbabwe in their World Cup match, Canadian captain Ashish Bagai urged his batsmen to show some responsibility as the side plunged to a huge 175-run defeat.

Canada were all out for 123 while chasing 299 to win.

"Yes, it is disappointing in the manner we batted. It was said that we couldn't show more positive intent after we were three down. I believe 280-285 is par for the course at this ground and we were not disappointed about their score. But we really need to solve the problems regarding our batting," Bagai said.

"It's all the more disappointing because it wasn't a great bowling attack. I can understand that we were blown away by a good bowling attack. But that was not the case. This has happened in the last four games (including two practice games). We will have a long hard chat about it today," he added.

However, Bagai praised Taibu, who scored 98 runs, for his effort.

Bagai also defended the team management's decision to give 16-year-old Nitish Kumar a chance.

"We had told Nitish to enjoy his game. We don't have any expectations from him. That will be too much of a pressure for a youngster like Nitish. He still has a long way to go and will surely learn with experience."

(Agencies)