In a match that ebbed and flowed right till the final ball, Zimbabwe held their nerve to beat Netherlands by one run in the second ODI in Harare. The win helped them level the three-match series 1-1.

Batting first, fifties from Sean Williams and Clive Madande kept Zimbabwe chugging along, but legspinner Shariz Ahmad’s maiden five-wicket haul saw the hosts lose their last five wickets in just 47 runs and be bowled out for 271.

In reply, Netherlands were on course for a big chunk of the game with Max’O Dowd and Tom Cooper leading the way. Wessly Madhevere, though, turned the game on its head with a hat-trick – the third by a Zimbabwe bowler in ODIs.

With Netherlands requiring 19 in the final over and just one wicket in hand, Zimbabwe seemed to have the game in the bag. But Tendai Chatara went for 15 runs off his first five balls to cause a few flutters. However, with four needed off the last ball, Fred Klaassen was unable to dispatch a low full toss past wide long-off.

Earlier, Zimbabwe started well with Craig Ervine and Madhevere adding 61 in 11 overs for the opening stand before the former was cleaned up by Colin Ackermann for 39 off 42. Gary Ballance struck three fours but was dismissed for 14. Shariz then got into the act, getting rid of Madhevere and Sikandar Raza in the space of three balls to stifle Zimbabwe. In his next over, the legspinner induced a top edge of Ryan Burl’s blade to make it 120 for 5.

Williams and Madande revived the innings by adding 104 runs off 93 balls for the sixth wicket. Williams struck 77 off 73 balls, while Madande hit his second successive half-century. But Shariz struck back. He first removed Williams, who top-edged a sweep to deep-backward square leg, and two balls later trapped Brad Evans lbw to complete his five-for.

O’Dowd gave Netherlands a quick start even though his opening partner Vikramjit Singh managed only 14 off 25. O’Dowd and Cooper then kept the Zimbabwe bowlers at bay for 25.2 overs, adding 125 runs for the second wicket. But then Cooper was run-out, and a few overs later, Raza had O’Dowd lbw.

But it was Madhevere’s three strikes that put Zimbabwe ahead. In the 44th over of the innings, he first had Ackermann stumped for 28. With his next ball, a quick offbreak, he castled opening ODI’s hero Teja Nidamanuru before claiming his hat-trick with a similar fast offspinning delivery that rattled Paul van Meekeren stumps.

Madhevere’s hat-trick left Netherlands struggling at 213 for 6. With the required rate rising every over, captain Scott Edwards tried his best to take his side closer to the target. He struck 36 off 28 balls before falling to Raza. Raza would have thought he had all but sealed the game when he removed Musa Ahmed as well three balls later.

Klaassen and Ryan Klein, though, made the Zimbabwe camp very nervous in the final over but failed to close the game.

Source: Cricinfo


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