Netherlands v Zimbabwe, World T20, Group B, Sylhet March 19, 2014

Zimbabwe prevail in last-ball finish


Zimbabwe 146 for 5 (Taylor 49) beat Netherlands 140 for 5 (Cooper 72*) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On Monday, Zimbabwe wanted to bat second in Sylhet. On Wednesday, they did.

On Monday, Zimbabwe's captain Brendan Taylor asked his batsmen to put more value on their wickets. On Wednesday, they did.

On Monday, Zimbabwe's match against Ireland went down to the last ball and they lost. On Wednesday, the margins were just as close but the result was different.

Zimbabwe kept themselves in contention for the main draw of the World T20, despite making hard work of chasing 141 on a surface which, on Monday, Taylor had assessed as a 180-run pitch. They needed much less and were solid at the start, but almost left themselves with too much to do at the end.

Having watched their own bowlers pluck the Netherlands top-order in the Powerplay, and concede 37 runs in the next six overs, Zimbabwe approached their chase conservatively at first. Hamilton Masakadza and Sikandar Raza left as many deliveries as they hit upfront before Raza was hurried into skying one to deep midwicket.

The early setback did not rattle Zimbabwe. At the same stage in Netherlands' innings, after 4.3 overs, Zimbabwe had already taken four wickets. Prosper Utseya had two of those, removing Stephan Myburgh for a first-ball duck and having Peter Borren caught at mid-off.

The Cooper brothers held Netherlands' innings together, and Zimbabwe had Masakadza and Taylor. Tom and Ben Cooper put on 52 for the fifth wicket for Netherlands, with Tom, the senior partner, adding 29 of those runs. Masakadza and Taylor put on 62 and took Zimbabwe closer to the target.

The Zimbabwe pair showed patience, focusing as much as on singles, and trying to turn them into twos, as they did on clearing the boundary. They each managed the latter only once, off Tom Cooper in the 10th over, which left Zimbabwe with 75 to get off the second half of their innings.

Three boundary-less overs followed and the required run rate crept up but Masakadza and Taylor were resolute in not rushing. Then Masakadza decided one of them had to. He charged Pieter Seelaar for the second time in the over and missed to find the ball hitting the middle stump.

When Netherlands lost their fifth wicket, with 6.1 overs left in the innings, Mudassar Bukhari went in to bat. He shared a stand of 53 with Cooper and assumed the role of the finisher. Zimbabwe lost Masakadza with 6.3 overs left in their chase and decided not to hold their big-hitter back. Elton Chigumbura was promoted to No. 4 but was out two balls after he arrived. He slapped Seelaar straight to cover to leave Netherlands with the advantage and Taylor out in the middle on his own.

The next two overs yielded only ones and twos as Peter Borren's slower ball and Timm van der Gugten's full delivery proved miserly. Zimbabwe needed 40 runs off the last 24 balls but they would have known it was not impossible as Netherlands had scored 37 in the same period.

Ball one of the 17th over. Logan van Beek overpitched and Taylor hit over mid-on for four. Ball two: Van Beek was too short and Taylor got four more. Off the last ball of the over, Van Beek went short again and Sean Williams found the gap between mid-wicket and square leg, making the equation a manageable 25 off 18.

The next six balls from Ahsan Malik offered no width at all. Taylor and Williams carved out 10 runs anyway to bring it down to 15 off the 12.

Van der Gugten was back to bowl the penultimate over. Taylor tried to lift him over the covers, but Borren stuck out his hand to pull off a tough chance. Zimbabwe would have to score 14 off 11 without Taylor. Van der Gugten aimed at the toes for the rest of that over but Williams and Vusi Sibanda kept him out and took the runs on offer to bring it down to seven off the last six.

Malik started the final over with a yorker. Then he conceded two. Williams swung wildly at the next ball but the inside edge beat Wesley Baressi to go for four. One needed off three. Zimbabwe appeared to have turned into the South African class of 1999 when Williams missed the next ball and followed that up with a mindless run that found him well short of his ground.

With the fielders up to save the single, Malik missed the yorker and Sibanda lofted the ball over long-on, sending it into the stands. Borren covered his eyes so he did not have to look, Taylor opened his.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Salil on March 20, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    Where is RYAN TEN DOESCHATE? He is one of the most amazing players for Dutch team....

  • Anver on March 20, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    WOW !!! another thrilling last ball result !!!!

  • Justin on March 20, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    Sibanda is really wasted at #6 in the batting order. He should be opening the batting. Whilst Taylor and Williams were struggling to come up with the decisive blow to win the match Sibanda calmly launched the last delivery of the match over long on for a big six to win the game for Zimbabwe. As for Holland I think they made a few errors. Firstly Tom Cooper has to come in a lot higher than #5 in the order. He is a #3 at the lowest if not an opener in T20s especially so when you consider how weak the batting is around him. I think Borren erred by overbowling van Beek who bowled a lot of rubbish whilst ignoring the spinner Seelaar who was the best bowler on the night and yet he bowled only two overs! Meanwhile, the best pace bowler was van der Gugten who has strongly impressed in the two games he has played so far, yet he wasn't given the final over despite the fact he is the hardest Dutch bowler to hit out against. With better tactics the Dutch would have won the game.

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    @rony1008 very good point, actually only 2 of the Dutch XI (Seelaar and Jamil) were born in the Netherlands, and only 4 out of their squad of 15. Then of course they sent one of their best home grown players Tim Gruijters home, possibly for dubious reasons, and replaced him with Tom Cooper who apparently only qualifies as his Mum was born in Dutch East Guinea?!! Holland have always had a few imports but at least back at the 1996, 2003 and 2007 World Cups they had a spine of 6 or 7 Dutchmen, such as PJ Bakker, Steve Lubbers, Roland Lefebvre, Tim de Leede, Bas Zuiderent and Daan van Bunge. The reliance on 'mercenaries' at the expense of Dutch youngsters has gone too far in the last few years and is obviously causing tensions within the team if the Gruijters affair is anything to go by.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Great effort again by Tom Cooper in a beaten Dutch side. Don't understand how hw missed man of the match. Good to see his little brother get a run as well. Remember hi from Cricket Superstar on Fox a couple of years ago and he looked good then.

  • Graham on March 19, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    Zimbabwe just claiming a thriller, but are still struggling at with the associate teams obviously the result of the problems at home and quality player drain, Captain Taylor again the only real consistent performer , unless you wish to include the run leaking bowler...Hopefully ZC can see the threat at last , that the associates are gathering up and performing for the right to play at a higher level, and a promotion /relegation battle to top tier cricket would be wide open. Masakadza ,Taylor , Balance, Williams Ervine S , Taibu(WK) , Chigumbura, Meth , Utseya, Panyangara/ Chatara/ , Jarvis.

    This has a far stronger sound ,when compared to the current starting X1 to many of these guys have been forced to move on by ZC..

  • Android on March 19, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    Brilliant character shown by the Zim Team. Inspite of all the chaos happening in their ZC they still managing to focus on cricket and do well. Its an amazing sight. Ive started liking this team more now. I wanted Ireland to qualify to the super10 but now I want this team Zimbabwe to go through along with Bangladesh. A fan from India.

  • Alyan on March 19, 2014, 15:44 GMT

    Another close finish.. I still think the decision to bowl Van Beek instead of a good bowler which went for less than him to bowl his last over. I think that cost the Dutch the game.

  • Mohammad Mahfuzul on March 19, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    Fair points @Jono Makim and @ArnoldVDH. May be I still haven't gotten over our failure to qualify in 1996 ODI WC. But I hope you understand if when my country Bangladesh was a associate and we lost to a team that had 8 foreign born players, how we felt. And worse, I think UAE had only their captain born in UAE.

    But I guess we have to count our geographical advantages too. With increasing immigrant population, may be next bunch of players from these teams will have more homegrown players.

  • Arnold on March 19, 2014, 13:45 GMT


    I think you are expecting a bit much.

    Do you really think the Dutch care about cricket in any way. Only 3 sports matter to the Dutch: Football, Hockey and Speed Skating.

    Today's match and the tournament itself won't get any mention in the Dutch press.

    Until I moved from Holland to South Africa as a 12 year old, I hadn't even heard of the sport.

    Now I love it of course.

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