Sunday 27 November 2022

T20 World Cup: Bowlers lead Dutch rout of Zimbabwe in historic win

Photo: ICC

Brief scores: Netherlands 120 for 5 (O’Dowd 52, Cooper 32, Ngarava 2-18, Muzarabani 2-23) beat Zimbabwe 117 (Raza 40, van Meekeren 3-29, de Leede 2-14) by five wickets

On the back of a collective seam-bowling performance and an eleventh T20I half-century from Max O’Dowd, the Netherlands notched up their first Super 12s win against Zimbabwe by five wickets.

The win was made all the more memorable given it was the Dutch men’s maiden T20I at the Adelaide Oval and also their first win over a full-member nation this year after running several close over the home summer.

Despite a late wobble, the Dutch top-order finally stepped up, courtesy a 73-run second-wicket partnership between O’Dowd and former South Australia batter, Tom Cooper, to knock off an under-par target of 118 with 12 balls to spare.

Earlier in the day, after Zimbabwe’s captain Craig Ervine opted to bat first under sunny skies, the Dutch pace quartet made hay by reducing their African counterparts to 20-3 in the powerplay. Brandon Glover induced a top edge off Ervine and had Regis Chakabva plumb LBW in front.

All-rounder Sikandar Raza, who played a starring role in his side’s one-run win over Pakistan, continued his fine form with a 24-ball 40 to resurrect Zimbabwe’s innings alongside Sean Williams (28). Although in the fifteenth over, it proved to be one shot too many for Raza, after hitting three sixes and as many boundaries, as he skied one off Bas de Leede (2-14).

De Leede’s method of operation involved digging slower balls into the pitch and forcing the batters to target the longer boundary and it helped bowl out Zimbabwe for 117 with four balls unused. Paul van Meekeren snared three wickets (3-29) as Glover (2-29), de Leede and Logan van Beek (2-17) bagged two apiece.

Dot balls

What proved to be the Dutch team’s undoing in most of their matches, including against Pakistan, brought about Zimbabwe’s struggles on Wednesday: high dot-ball percentage (57%). In all, Zimbabwe faced as many as 66 dot balls.

In response, a composed 47-ball 52 from O’Dowd, that featured eight boundaries and a six, laid the foundation for a straightforward chase. Cooper, who made 77 appearances at the Adelaide Oval for South Australia, played second-fiddle with a 29-ball 32 in a welcome return to form.

By the time the Zimbabwean quicks Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani dismissed O’Dowd, Scott Edwards and Colin Ackermann, all in the space of 17 deliveries, the result was a foregone conclusion. The loss all but ended Zimbabwe’s chances of contesting a semi-final spot.

Scrappy start

‘Pretty scrappy to start, I was trying to adapt to the wicket as quickly as possible,’ O’Dowd, who is now the second-highest run-scorer in the World Cup, said after the game.

‘There was a bit more pace in the wicket today. Obviously Zimbabwe have some tall boys and with that extra bounce, I took a bit too long to adapt to. I adapted well in the end to use the pace and bounce, I tried to bat as long as I could.’

The Netherlands will now take on South Africa on Sunday (Nov 2) in their final game of the tournament.

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