The Netherlands and Zimbabwe have qualified for the elite ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, seeing off USA and PNG respectively in the semifinals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B, here on Friday.
The Netherlands saw off a spirited effort from the USA to seal a seven-wicket victory in their semifinal after restricting the USA to 138 in 19.4 overs even as Zimbabwe held off a valiant PNG by 27 runs.
The Netherlands v USA
It was a dream start for the USA, which was hoping to reach its first global ICC tournament. The in-form Steven Taylor and skipper Monank Patel laid a solid foundation with a 51-run opening stand in just five overs. Paul van Meekeren drew the first blood for the Netherlands with an all-important wicket of Taylor, who fell for 26 – his lowest score in the tournament so far. Unfortunately for the USA, the wicket triggered a collapse.
Monank was the next batter to fall, getting caught off Shariz Ahmad, for a well-made 15-ball 32. Aaron Jones (15), Jaskaran Malhotra (12) and Nisarg Patel (28) were the only other batters to have scored runs in double digits as the pressure got the better of the USA line-up. The Netherlands fought back well and had the USA bowled out in 19.4 overs for 138.
Chasing 139, the Netherlands got off to a shaky start, having lost their opener Stephan Myburgh for a duck to Saurabh Netravalkar. After the early hiccup, Max O’Dowd and Bas de Leede batted with caution, according to in
In the last over of the Powerplay, they shifted gears with three boundaries, finishing the first six overs on 53/1. The Dutch lost two wickets in back-to-back overs, but de Leede continued to lead the attack as he brought up a crucial fifty from 33 balls.
Leede lost Max O’Dowd (16) and Tom Cooper (1) in quick succession thereafter, but he held firm, putting on an important partnership with captain Scott Edwards to see the side through to a second consecutive ICC Men’s T20 World Cup appearance.
Zimbabwe v Papua New Guinea
The tournament hosts Zimbabwe’s decision to have a bat first turned out to be a fruitful one. The experienced duo of Regis Chakabva and skipper Craig Ervine provided a good start, with the former adopting an aggressive approach.
Chakabva struck the first boundary of the match in the very first over, and followed that up with a flurry of fours – three back-to-back off Sema Kamea. An over later, he smacked a six, looking even more dangerous.
However, his blazing innings was put to an end by Sese Bau, who had him trapped in front for a 19-ball 30. The wicket did not put the brakes on Zimbabwe’s flow of runs as both Ervine and Wesley Madhevere struck regular boundaries. At the end of the 10th over, Zimbabwe were looking strong on 90/1.
However, inside the next five overs, the hosts lost Ervine on 38 while Madhevere fell after top-scoring with a 29-ball 42. The middle-order contributed with valuable runs, helping their side post a strong 199/5 from the allotted 20 overs.
Everything was going Zimbabwe’s way as they picked up a wicket on the very first ball of PNG’s innings with opener Lega Siaka’s dismissal. They lost two more wickets in quick succession as they were reduced to 45/3 in the Powerplay.
With the asking rate going up, Tony Ura started attacking with the bat, smashing two sixes in a row in Sikandar Raza’s over. His partner Charles Amini, too, was looking set for a big inning before falling prey to Luke Jongwe’s outside-off yorker. Ura, however, remained unperturbed as he continued with his business – smashing boundaries at will.
Zimbabwe missed a big opportunity when they had the danger man, Ura, caught when he was on 49 but the delivery was called a no-ball as the bowler Richard Ngarava had overstepped. Ura was eventually dismissed for a 35-ball 66. Thereafter, the bowlers kept the pressure up.
When Ura fell, PNG were 139/5. They ended on 172/8 after 20 overs, falling short by 27 runs. The home crowd went wild as Zimbabwe sealed their place in the marquee event in Australia.
USA 130 all out in 19.4 overs (Monank Patel 32, Nisarg Patel 28; Bastiaan de Leede 2-23, Paul van Meekeren 2-22) lost to the Netherlands 139/3 in 19 overs (Bastiaan de Leede 91 not out; Cameron Stevenson 1-23) by 7 wickets.
Zimbabwe 199/5 in 20 overs (Wesley Madhevere 42; Craig Ervine 38, Sese Bau 2-32) beat PNG 172/8 in over in 20 overs (Tony Ura 66, Charles Amini 31; Blessing Muzarabani 2-24).