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Zimbabwe and Netherlands claim final two spots at 2022 Men's T20 World Cup

A consummate team effort took Zimbabwe past PNG, while Bas de Leede starred with bat and ball as Netherlands swept USA aside

Blessing Muzarabani bowls during the 3rd T20I against Afghanistan, Zimbabwe vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I Harare, June 11, 2022

File photo - Blessing Muzarabani finished with figures of 2 for 24  •  AFP/Getty Images

Tournament hosts Zimbabwe and reigning tournament champions Netherlands continued their undefeated runs at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Bulawayo, both sides winning their respective semifinals on Friday to clinch the final two available berths at the T20 World Cup in Australia this October. It will be Zimbabwe's sixth trip to the T20 World Cup and their first since 2016, while Netherlands make their fifth appearance in the T20 World Cup.
Zimbabwe and Netherlands will face off on Sunday in the final of the T20 World Cup Qualifier to determine the final group assignments for the opening round in Australia. The winner of the final will spend the opening round in Hobart in Group B, with Ireland, Scotland and West Indies. The loser of the final will head to Geelong, where they will be paired against Namibia, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.
Zimbabwe 199 for 5 (Madhevere 42, Ervine 38, Chakabva 30, Amini 2-28, Bau 2-32) beat Papua New Guinea 172 for 8 (Ura 66, Amini 31, Muzarabani 2-24) by 27 runs
Zimbabwe's 27-run victory over Papua New Guinea at Queen's Sports Club was a consummate team effort as they compiled a first-innings total of 199 after choosing to bat first, despite nobody making more than Wessly Madhevere's 42 off 29 balls. But the rest of the top six batters scored at least 22, including 38 off 30 from captain Craig Ervine.
PNG's reply got off to a disastrous start when Lega Siaka was run out by Sean Williams off the first ball of the chase and they slipped to 34 for 3 inside of five overs. But Tony Ura's superlative tournament continued with a 22-ball half-century to keep PNG in the hunt for a second straight trip to the T20 World Cup. However, he slowed down considerably afterward before a heave across the line resulted in him being bowled by Williams for 66 off 35 balls making the score 139 for 5 after 15. PNG needed 61 off the final 30 balls, but with Ura gone lacked the firepower to get within striking distance before eventually ending on 172 for 8.
Netherlands 139 for 3 (de Leede 91*) beat United States of America 138 (Monank Patel 32, van Meekeren 2-22, de Leede 2-23) by seven wickets
Bas de Leede put in an all-time great performance in the annals of Dutch cricket history to see the Netherlands past USA by seven wickets with an over to spare in their semifinal at Bulawayo Athletic Club. USA were 51 for 0 after five overs after choosing to bat, but de Leede's spell of medium-pace helped turn the tide as he took 2 for 23 in three overs while also taking a catch and effecting a run-out to help bowl USA out for 138 in 19.4 overs.
Paul van Meekeren made the first breakthrough to end USA's opening stand by getting Steven Taylor to chip a full ball to Max O'Dowd at midwicket for 26 off the first ball of the sixth over. USA captain Monank Patel then fell to a half-tracker from legspinner Shariz Ahmad, picking out Logan van Been at deep midwicket for 32 off 15 balls to make it 68 for 2. It opened the door for de Leede to pounce with a tremendous athletic diving effort off his own bowling to bounce out the dangerous Gajanand Singh for a second-ball duck, then later cleaned up Marty Kain with a slower-ball yorker for a golden duck. Nisarg Patel tried to stretch out the USA innings with 28 off 23 balls at No. 8 before de Leede ran him out with a sharp relay from deep midwicket to deny a second run.
USA held a brief glimmer of hope in the first over of the Dutch reply when Saurabh Netravalkar induced a chipped catch by Stephan Myburgh to extra-cover for a third-ball duck. de Leede entered at No. 3 and, after negotiating a tricky next few overs, opened up against Netravalkar in the fifth, driving him inside-out over-extra cover for six. He cleared the rope twice more off Rusty Theron in the following over to take the Netherlands to 53 for 1 at the end of the powerplay.
Netherlands suffered two more hiccups just after, when Max O'Dowd fell for 16 in the seventh over, driving a low return catch to Nisarg's left-arm spin before Tom Cooper flicked Cameron Stevenson's medium-pace to Jaskaran Malhotra at deep midwicket to make it 62 for 3 after eight. But captain Scott Edwards arrived and rotated the strike well to keep the required run rate comfortable. De Leede brought up his fifty off 33 balls with a single in the 10th.
The pair finally put the game out of USA's reach by attacking the part-time legspin of Aaron Jones in the 12th over. A day after Jones conceded 26 runs off the final over of the first innings to Zimbabwe, including three sixes to Sikandar Raza, USA captain Monank tossed him the ball only to see Edwards sweep him repeatedly in a 12-run over that took the required run rate under a run a ball for the rest of the chase. A single off the final ball of the 19th by de Leede secured victory.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna