Records tumble as Dutch are downed by Zimbabwe

Records tumble as Dutch are downed by Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe--An all-round show by Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza handed a six-wicket loss to the Netherlands despite a record total of 315-6 in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Harare Sports Club as the Dutch started their quest for a World Cup place.

Alongside Raza, who struck his side’s fastest-ever century, Sean Williams’ 91 and Craig Ervine’s half-century trumped Vikram Singh’s career-best 88, Dutch captain Scott Edwards’ 83 and Max O’Dowd’s 59, as the hosts claimed their second win in as many games to go top of the table in Group A of the ICC World Cup qualifier. Such was the nature of the pitch that the Netherlands’ effort with the bat, which amounted to their joint-highest ODI total and their highest against a Test-playing nation, was deemed just “par” by Raza and was chased down comfortably with 55 balls to spare. It didn’t help that the Dutch dropped as many as five catches in the field. Having lost the toss and inserted to bat first in their opening match of the World Cup Qualifier, the Dutch opted to field four spinners in Aryan Dutt, Shariz Ahmad, Clayton Floyd and all-rounder Saqib Zulfiqar, the latter making his first international appearance since January 2022, on a flat pitch. Singh and O’Dowd registered a 120-run opening partnership which was followed by a 96-run stand between Singh and Edwards for the third wicket. Off-spinner Raza then sparked a mini collapse as the Dutch were reduced to 238-5 from 223-2 and finished with career-best figures of 4-55, a masterful effort on an unresponsive pitch. Zulfiqar’s unbeaten 34-run cameo alongside Logan van Beek, who struck a six off the penultimate over of the innings, took the Netherlands over the 300-run mark, their first since 2009 and fifth-overall. In response, Zimbabwean openers cruised to 80 before Ervine (50) was expertly snaffled by Floyd off Vikram Singh and Joylord Gumbie, who was dropped twice on 2 and 24, was bowled by Shariz’s googly.

Any chance the Dutch might have sensed when Madhevere’s cut off Shariz found Floyd at short third man to leave the hosts reeling at 162-3 quickly diminished as Sean Williams followed up his century against Nepal with a 58-ball 91 and Raza hammered an unbeaten 54-ball 102, a knock which featured six fours and eight sixes. “He’s [Raza – Ed.] probably one of the cleanest strikers I have seen on a cricket field. The way he played today just took the game away from us,” Singh told a press conference. “The conditions were different to what they were when we played here a couple of months ago,” Edwards said, referring to a closely contested 1-2 series loss to the hosts in March which offered dry pitches. “If their batters in the top order get going, they can be dangerous. We did not bowl our best and they capitalised. These tournaments come quick and fast, it’s a long tournament so you’ve got to put [the loss] behind you. We have some positives [from this game].” The Netherlands next take on United States today, Thursday, June 22.

The Daily Herald

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