ANI Photo | Zimbabwe clinch another World Cup Qualifier win after defeating Netherlands by 6 wickets

With the all-round performance of Sikandar Raza with bat and ball, Zimbabwe chased down a massive target of 315 in just 40.5 overs by six wickets in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier match against the Netherlands at the Harare in Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
According to ICC, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza ensured Zimbabwe’s second consecutive win in the tournament. This was their third-highest successful chase in ODIs. With this victory, the Chevrons have further boosted their claim for a place in the Super Six.
In pursuit of 316, Zimbabwe’s response was led by their skipper, Craig Ervine. He hit nine fours during a quality knock of 50, and added 81 runs for the first wicket. Ervine, however, fell in the 14th over after he miscued a Vikramjit Singh delivery towards mid-wicket where Clayton Floyd took a diving catch.
Arriving at number three, Sean Williams continued in the same free-flowing form which had brought him a century in the last game against Nepal. Along with Joylord Gumbie, who survived a number of close calls, he added 62 from 44 balls. The stand finally fell when Gumbie (40) ran out of luck and was bowled off a beauty from Shariz Ahmad.
Soon after Shariz also accounted for Wessly Madhevere for 10. But this didn’t deter Williams from going for his runs. He brought up his 50 off merely 28 balls in the 23rd over.
Raza’s arrival at the wicket meant that Zimbabwe’s run-rate picked up even further. From the 26th over till drinks break, Zimbabwe went at over nine runs an over, bringing the required run rate to less than 4.5. The duo were particularly brutal in Saqib Zulfiqar’s first over, taking 17 runs off the leg-spinner.
Williams fell agonizingly short of his second consecutive hundred, when he gave away his wicket in the 35th over to Bas de Leede, but Zimbabwe were already way ahead in the game at this stage.
Raza, complimented his four-for with a blistering century which came off merely 54 balls. His blitz included a hat-trick of sixes against young spinner, Shariz. This was the fastest ODI hundred by a Zimbabwe batter.
Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl. In terms of head-to-head record, the two teams stand evenly matched, having won and lost three games each.
The Dutch welcomed back de Leede. The player, who came after fulfilling county duties for Durham, was a late arrival into the setup. Zimbabwe stuck to the XI which won them the opening encounter against Nepal.
Netherlands openers took advantage of a good batting strip in the opening hour. Opener Max O’Dowd, who had an average of 71 against Zimbabwe before this game, showed positive intent and was among runs from the very start. His partner, Vikramjit Singh, took his time to settle but eventually opened his arms. Together the duo hit nine boundaries in their first 10 overs to get Netherlands to 57 without loss. They upped the ante after that and ensured that the Dutch crossed 100 without loss by the 17th over.
While the frontline bowlers leaked runs, all-rounders Ryan Burl and Sikandar Raza helped slow down the scoring rate with their disciplined bowling. And it was Raza, who brought the first breakthrough in the 21st over when he castled O’Dowd for 59. In his very next over, Raza had Wesley Barresi bowled after the batter missed a switch hit and edged the ball onto his stumps.
At the halfway stage, Netherlands were 139/2, with half-centurion Vikramjit still on strike.
The Dutch skipper Scott Edwards rejuvenated the Netherlands innings with a purposeful knock. With Vikramjit, he added 96 from merely 97 balls. In this stand, his contribution was 49 off 48, and by the 38th over, Netherlands were placed at 221/2 and looked all set to cross the 300-run mark with ease.
However, Raza (4/55) returned to torment the Dutch. He got rid of the set Vikramjit for 88 in the 39th over and then uprooted de Leede’s middle stump with a beauty in the 41st over. When Richard Ngrava had Teja Nidamanuru caught for 1 to leave the Netherlands reeling at 238/5, it looked like the European side would repeat the mistakes of Nepal to miss out on a total of 300.
But an enterprising sixth wicket stand of 59 between Edwards (83) and Saqib Zulfiqar helped Netherlands cross that mark with ease. (ANI)

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