Harare: Wessly Madhevere and Gary Ballance struck half-centuries, while Sean Williams produced an all-round performance as Zimbabwe beat Netherlands by seven wickets in the third and final ODI to grab the series 2-1 at the Harare Sports Club, here on Saturday.
Though both sides are out of contention for direct qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, to be held in India in October-November, this series played an important role in giving them some game time in these conditions before the qualifying tournament takes place from June 18 to July 9 in Zimbabwe.
Netherlands and Zimbabwe will be among the 10 teams battling for two World Cup spots at the Qualifier.
Netherlands won the toss and chose to bat first, but never got going to their own liking. Despite Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd having a 67-run opening partnership and captain Scott Edwards making 34 off 41 balls, the Netherlands innings was stifled by regular fall of wickets.
Zimbabwe’s part-time spinners, Sean Williams (3/41) and Sikandar Raza (2/55), did the maximum damage as Netherlands could only reach 231/9 at the end of their allotted overs.
In reply, Zimbabwe got off to a great start as the opening pair of skipper Craig Ervine (44) and Wessly Madhevere (50) were proactive, adding 96 runs in 18 overs for the first wicket.
After losing both of them to spinner Shariz Ahmad, Zimbabwe banked on the experience of Williams (43) and Gary Ballance (64 not out) to move ahead in the game. Their patient stand of 96 runs helped the hosts close in on an easy win.
Raza then hit 18 not out off just nine balls to complete Zimbabwe’s chase with 50 balls to spare and seven wickets in hand. The 2-1 series win helped Zimbabwe finish the Super League at 12th place, with 65 points in their kitty.
Netherlands will travel now to take on South Africa in their final games of the Men’s ODI World Cup qualifier, while Zimbabwe will be on a break from international cricket.
Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 235/3 in 41.4 overs (Gary Ballance 64 not out, Wessly Madhevere 50, Shariz Ahmed 2/71) beat Netherlands 231/9 in 50 overs (Max O’Dowd 38, Colin Ackermann 37, Sean Williams 3/41, Sikandar Raza 2/55) by seven wickets.