The Netherlands lose a thriller as Zimbabwe bounce back to level the series

Photo: Zimbabwe Cricket
Photo: Zimbabwe Cricket

Zimbabwe 271 (Williams 77, Madande 52, Madhevere 43, Shariz 5-43) beat Netherlands 270 (O’Dowd 81, Cooper 74, Madhevere 3-36, Raza 3-39) by one run

The Netherlands were left to rue the fine margins of the game to go down to Zimbabwe by one run in the second One Day International on Thursday.

Had the Dutch won it, it would have been their first one-day series win against a Test-playing nation away from home but still have an opportunity to do so in Saturday’s decider at the same venue.

If it was the Dutch who made an unlikely comeback in the first match, it was Zimbabwe’s turn to hold their nerve to clinch a last-ball thriller on a day when as many as 13 wickets fell to spin.

Shariz Ahmad, playing just his fourth ODI for the Netherlands, picked up his maiden five-wicket haul to spin out the hosts for 271. In the process, Zimbabwe lost their last five wickets for just 47 runs after a match-saving 104-run partnership between Sean Williams (77) and Clive Madande (52).

In response, the Dutch batters had a sedate start and looked in pole position to win on the back of a 125-run stand for the second wicket between half-centurions Max O’Dowd (81) and Tom Cooper (74).

O’Dowd’s dismissal in the 41st over, adjudged LBW off Sikandar Raza, saw the Dutch lose their last eight wickets for 73 runs in a cataclysmic collapse.

Madhevere’s hat trick proved pivotal

Wessly Madhevere, the part-time Zimbabwean off-spinner who had earlier contributed with a 43 with the bat, delivered a telling blow to Dutch hopes in the 44th over to bag a hat trick. Colin Ackermann was stumped off the first ball of the over before Madhevere bowled out Teja Nidamanuru, the centurion from the first game, and Paul van Meekeren off successive deliveries.

In the face of increasing run-rate, the Dutch batters were forced to look for boundaries and as a result, Scott Edwards (36) and Musa Nadeem Ahmad were caught in the deep off full-tosses off Raza in the space of three deliveries in the penultimate over.

With 19 required off the last over with one wicket in hand, Ryan Klein hit a boundary off pacer Tendai Chatara before Fred Klaassen hit the penultimate ball down the ground for a six. With a boundary needed off the last ball, Klein was run-out in dramatic fashion.

‘Six extra runs there and you would probably win the game so that was not ideal,’ Edwards said when asked if his dismissal was a turning point late in the chase which once again allowed the hosts to claw their way back.

‘Most of our guys have played T20 cricket and have a plan. So they know how to go at 9-10 runs an over so I told them to back their strengths, find wherever your boundary is and see if you can expose it.’

‘Our bowlers did a fantastic job to get us back into the game after their start. Our batters were good all the way through but one over changes the game, I suppose.’

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