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
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
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.