ADELAIDE — The Netherlands, riding on a fine half-century from opener Max O’Dowd defeated Zimbabwe by five wickets with two overs to spare to end the African nation’s hopes of qualifying for the semifinals in the ICC T20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
With Craig Ervine’s side dismissed for just 117 in 19.2 overs, there was little his bowlers could do when O’Dowd (52 from 47 balls) and Tom Cooper (32 from 29 balls) gave Netherlands a fine start. Though the Dutch were already not in contention for a semifinal berth, they queered the pitch for Zimbabwe, who, had they earned two points on Wednesday, would have made things even more interesting in Group 2.
Netherlands have produced several highlights in this tournament, but their efforts against Zimbabwe came close to being a complete performance thus far. Paul van Meekeren (3/29) and fellow seamer Bas de Leede (2/13) were the pick of the bowlers as Zimbabwe were all out from 117 in their final over, and their run chase was a mere procession as they found the victory target with ease.
O’Dowd and Cooper were the mainstays of the chase as they combined to put on 73 for the second wicket as the Netherlands eased to maiden win of the Super 12 stage.
O’Dowd has been of the most impressive performers of the T20 World Cup thus far, with the Netherlands opener having amassed the most runs by anyone at the tournament thus far with 213 runs from seven innings, according to ICC.
Cooper’s T20 World Cup had been in complete contrast leading into Wednesday’s match, with the Australia-born veteran having scored just 40 runs from six knocks prior to the clash. But batting on a ground he would have had plenty of experience playing on with Australian domestic side South Australia, Cooper showed his class with a valuable knock at the top of the order.
Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza played a lone hand for the African side, with the 36-year-old striking a quickfire 40 from just 24 deliveries to provide some momentum for Zimbabwe through the middle overs. But Fred Klaassen held on to a good to a good catch in the outfield when Raza was attempting to hit his fourth six as wickets continued to fall in quick succession.
Sean Williams (28) was the only other Zimbabwe player to score in double figures and their total was well below par on a wicket that appeared good for batting.
The loss ends Zimbabwe’s chances of making the semifinal grade, with Ervine’s side now needing to regroup ahead of a tough match-up against India in Melbourne on Sunday.
The Dutch will now be fighting for pride – and a second successive win — when they take on South Africa in Adelaide on Sunday.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 117 in 19.2 overs (Sikandar Raza 40; Paul van Meekeren 3/29, Bas de Leede 2/14) lost to Netherlands 120/5 in 18 overs (Max O’Dowd 52, Tom Cooper 32) by 5 wickets. — (IANS)