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T20 WC 2022, Gr 2, NED v ZIM: Van Meekeren's 3-29, O'Dowd's 52 push Zimbabwe to brink of elimination

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Super 12, Group 2, Zimbabwe vs Netherlands: Paul van Meekeren’s 3/29, Brandon Glover-Bas de Leede’s combined 4/43 and Max O’Dowd-Tom Cooper’s stand of 73 runs are top performances. Zimbabwe lose to the Netherlands to be virtually knocked out of the race for the semis

ICC Men's T20 WC 2022, Super 12, Group 2, Netherlands v Zimbabwe_ Paul van Meekeren's 3-29 helps Netherlands beat Zimbabwe_Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Sarah Reed_Getty Images)
Van Meekeren's 3-29 helps Netherlands beat Zimbabwe (Source: ©Sarah Reed/Getty)

Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 117 (Raza 40, Van Meekeren 3/29,D e Leede 2/14) lost to Netherlands 120/5 (O’Dowd 52, Cooper 32, Ngarava 2/18) by 5 wickets

Player of the Match: Max O’Dowd - 52 (47)

Zimbabwe, who were coming off a mixed tournament so far in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 where they have beaten Pakistan in a thriller and lost by the slenderest of margins to Bangladesh, came into the match against the Netherlands as favourites. The Netherlands, on the other hand, came into this game after having lost all their three games so far in the competition. The 34th game of T20 World Cup 2022 was played at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, which on Wednesday hosted its first game of this year’s mega event.

Before this match, Zimbabwe had won 3 and lost 1 in 4 T20I games against the Netherlands.

Putting behind three straight losses in the tournament, Netherlands came back strongly, putting up an all-round show to blank Zimbabwe. With the ball, they restricted Zimbabwe to a below-par total and then put up a strong batting display to beat the opponents. However, Zimbabwe didn’t go down without a fight. They made the Netherlands work hard for each run and took the game till the 18th over.

Netherlands bowlers make early inroads and restrict Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine won the toss and opted to bat first. Netherlands pacers were all over Zimbabwe top-order batters, restricting them to just 20 for the loss of 3 wickets in the first powerplay. Paul van Meekeren inflicted the first damage, getting Zimbabwe opener Wessly Madhevere bowled for 1. Brandon Glover then dismissed Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine for 3, and Regis Chakabva for 5 to put Zimbabwe on the backfoot. Zimbabwe’s star batter Sikandar Raza played a counter-attacking innings of 24-ball 40 to resurrect the innings in the company of Sean Williams (28). But once Raza was dismissed in the 15th over with his side at 92/6, Zimbabwe’s innings folded for 117 in 19.2 overs.

Max O’Dowd leads the chase successfully

After losing opener Stephan Myburgh cheaply, Netherlands batted brilliantly, with second opener Max O’Dowd leading the chase in the company of Tom Cooper. The two batted sensibly, rotating the strike and hitting the odd boundaries in between to keep up with the required run rate. O’Dowd was dismissed in the 16th over with his side just 9 runs away from victory. He made a well-compiled 47-ball 52 which was laced with 8 fours and 1 six. Zimbabwe didn’t give any easy runs, and it was finally in the 18th over that the Netherlands got home to win the game by 5 wickets.

Let’s take a look at the top three performances from the game between Zimbabwe and Netherlands in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.

ICC Men's T20 WC 2022, Super 12, Group 2, Netherlands v Zimbabwe_ Paul van Meekeren took 3-29 against Zimbabwe; Netherlands beat Zimbabwe in Super 12s _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Getty Images)
Paul van Meekeren took 3-29 against Zimbabwe (Source: ©Getty Images)

Netherlands’ leading wicket-taker Paul van Meekeren takes three-fer

It was Netherlands’ leading wicket-taker in T20Is, Paul van Meekeren who drew first blood when the Netherlands bowled against Zimbabwe. A perfect in-swinging yorker from van Meekeren saw Zimbabwe opener Wessly Madhevere’s stumps shattered. Van Meekeren then came back to break a dangerous stand of 48 runs between Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza. He got Williams (28) to pull one straight to square leg where he was pouched by Max O’Dowd. Van Meekeren then notched up his third wicket in Ryan Burl who played on to his stumps, trying to attempt a drive off a full-length delivery.

ICC Men's T20 WC 2022, Super 12, Group 2, Netherlands v Zimbabwe_ Brandon Glover took 2-29 against Zimbabwe; Netherlands beat Zimbabwe _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Sarah Reed_Getty Images)
Brandon Glover took 2-29 against Zimbabwe (Source: ©Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Brandon Glover & Bas de Leede’s combined figures of 4/43 hurt Zimbabwe

Brandon Glover was quite outstanding with the ball, dismissing Zimbabwe top-order batsters – captain Craig Ervine for 3 and Regis Chakabva for just 5 – to reduce the opponents to 20/3 at the end of powerplay overs. The twin strikes from Glover made life difficult for the other Zimbabwe batters who followed.

Bas de Leede took the very important wicket of Sikandar Raza who got out for 40 attempting a big shot but ending up getting caught at long-on in the 15th over, with Zimbabwe placed at 92/6. Just when the southern African cricket team were looking to make some quick runs in death overs, Bas de Leede came to the party again, dismissing Luke Jongwe for 6, which paved the way for Zimbabwe getting all out for 117 in the final analysis.

ICC Men's T20 WC 2022, Super 12, Group 2, Netherlands v Zimbabwe_ Max O'Dowd-Tom Cooper added 73 off 57 for 2nd ticket against Zimbabwe _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Getty Images)
O'Dowd-Cooper added 73 off 57 for 2nd ticket against Zimbabwe (Source: ©Getty Images)

Max O’Dowd-Tom Cooper’s 73-run stand for the second wicket

A small target is a tricky one and the Netherlands ensured that they didn’t rush to reach the target. Opener Max O’Dowd and number 3 batter Tom Cooper played sensibly, chewing up all the risks, to build up a match-winning stand of 73 runs for the second wicket in 9.3 overs.

They rotated the strike well and took on the bad balls offered by Zimbabwe bowlers. O’Dowd was the more impressive of the two in this stand as he struck 8 fours and cracked a six to score 52. Cooper made 32 off 29 balls. Both were dismissed in the space of 7 runs, but their stand had done the job for their side by then.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Group 2 Points Table

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Group 2 Points Table
Group 2 Points Table

Points Table Scenario & What’s Next

With this loss, Zimbabwe are all but out for the race for the semis as they stand at the fourth place in Group 2, with 3 points in 4 games and a net run rate (NRR) of -0.313. They still stand a mathematical chance of making it to the knockouts if other results also go their way but in frankness, it’s a far-fetched thought to say the least. Zimbabwe play their last Super 12 match against India on November 6 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne.

The Netherlands are already out of the semi-final race but they would look to cause an upset against South Africa in their last Super 12 match on November 6 at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide.

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