Harare [Zimbabwe], March 25 (ANI): Zimbabwe and Netherlands have produced one of the most thrilling ODI series, a cricket lover could ever witness. The excitement does not stop here as the two teams are set to square off against each other for a final time on Saturday in Harare.
The two sides may be at the bottom of the Cricket World Cup Super League but the quality of cricket on display has been top-notch. Although the result will not have major Super League repercussions, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands will be looking to finish their campaign on a high in what will be their final match in CWCSL.
Going into the series, Zimbabwe were considered the favourites at home but the Netherlands have displayed great efforts since the start of the series by taking the fight to the hosts. They reduced the hosts to 98/7 at one stage in the first ODI and had it not been for the lower-order push led by Clive Madande, Zimbabwe would have only been able to post a modest total. The late surge, however, helped them set the Dutch a target of 250.
Netherlands suffered a similar fate as Zimbabwe with the bat, reduced to 110/6 in their chase. Almost down and out, the visitors found themselves a saviour in the form of Teja Nidamanuru who, batting at No.7, guided the team home with an unbeaten century. The match went right down to the wire with the Netherlands needing 29 off the final three overs with only three wickets in hand. But thanks to some late fireworks from Nidamanuru and Paul van Meekeren, the match was wrapped up off the penultimate ball with a six to win it for the Netherlands.
The second match of the series also lived up to the billing with the game being decided off the final ball. Batting first yet again, Zimbabwe's top order looked in better touch and posted a strong total of 271 on the back of fifties from Sean Williams and Madande.
In reply, the Netherlands were cruising to victory with 76 runs needed off the last 10 overs with eight wickets in hand before the game turned on its head. In the 44th over, Wessly Madhevere recorded a brilliant hat-trick, the third by a Zimbabwean in ODIs, to leave the Dutch reeling. Needing 19 off the final over, Ryan Klein and Fred Klaassen struck a four and six respectively to bring the equation down to four off the last ball.
Klaassen struck the ball wide of cover but Evans got around quickly and darted a good throw at the bowler's end, where Klein was well short of completing a third run to tie the game. Zimbabwe clinched the second ODI by a solitary run, forcing the series into what promises to be a gripping decider on Saturday. (ANI)