Assertive Zimbabwe wins final ODI easily to win series

The final ODI between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands was one-sided, starkly contrasting with the rest of the series.

Both sides are in contention for direct qualification to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. This series was critical in providing them with game time in these conditions before the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023. The Qualifier will be held in Zimbabwe from June 18 to July 9.

The Netherlands and Zimbabwe will be among the ten teams competing in the Qualifier for two World Cup spots.

The Netherlands won the coin toss and elected to bat first when the match was played in Harare. The Dutch innings were stifled by frequent wicket falls, despite their top-order batters consistently contributing to the team’s total. The part-time spinners for Zimbabwe, Sean Williams (3/41) and Sikandar Raza (2/55), were responsible for most of the damage, as the Netherlands could only score 231/9 at the end their allotted overs.

The Chevrons got off to a good start in response. The openers, skipper Craig Ervine (44) and Wessly Madhevere (50) were aggressive, putting on 96 for the first wicket.

Zimbabwe relied on the experience of Sean Williams (43) and Gary Ballance (64*) to move ahead in the game after losing both to Shariz Ahmad. Their patient 96-run stand helped the hosts close in on an easy victory. With 50 balls to spare, they won by seven wickets.

This 2-1 series victory helped Zimbabwe finish the Super League in 12th place with 65 points.

In sharp contrast to the third ODI, the first two games of the three-match ODI series were nail-biters. The other fought back to equalise whenever one team gained a small advantage.

The Netherlands bowlers pounced on Zimbabwe’s batting in the first ODI, reducing them to 98/7 before Clive Madande (74) pulled off a comeback with the help of lower-order batters. Chevrons set a target of 250 thanks to the late surge.

The Netherlands also struggled with the bat, reaching 64/5 at one point. The 28-year-old Teja Nidamanuru (110) led the Dutch comeback with a scintillating century off just 88 balls. He was well supported by Paul van Meekeren, who added a fiery 21 from nine balls with the bat to his 2/50 bowling figures as the tourists crossed the line with one ball to spare.

The shock of this defeat motivated Zimbabwe to perform better in the second game.

Once again, Zimbabwe’s top order batted first and got off to a good start. However, leg-spinner Shariz Ahmad struck three times, bringing their score down to 120/5. After that, Williams (77) and Madande (52) combined for 104 runs, contributing to the home team’s total of 271.

The top-order batters for the Netherlands batted exceptionally well, scoring 166 runs before losing their first two wickets. They needed only 76 runs off the final 60 balls to win the match, and they were in a good position to do so. Despite this, Zimbabwe won the game thanks to an off-spinner all-rounder named Madhevere, who took a hat-trick in the 44th over.

However, the Netherlands’ lower order still needed to be finished, and they continued to chip away at the target. They eventually needed 19 points off the final over. Ryan Klein and Fred Klaassen came close to scoring, bringing the equation down to four runs off of one, but Klein was out when the third run was scored.

Zimbabwe won by a single run.

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