THE Zimbabwe women’s cricket team were left facing an uphill task to qualify for next year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s World Twenty20 (T20) after succumbing to a narrow three-run loss to Netherlands in their opening ICC Women’s World T20 qualifier in Ireland yesterday.
REPORT BY SPORTS REPORTER
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to field, a decision that paid dividends as they restricted Netherlands to a gettable 95 for seven in their allotted 20 overs.
Former captain Sharne Meyers was the most outstanding bowler for Zimbabwe after taking three wickets for 14 runs in her allotted 20 overs. Tessa van de Gun top- scored for the Dutch with 28 runs before she retired.
Zimbabwe needed their batters to come to the party if they were to reach the target, but they lost their first five wickets for just 29 runs as their top order batters were dismissed cheaply.
Nonhlanhla Nyathi (33 not out) and her captain Ashley Burdett (23) rescued the innings with 33-run partnership for the sixth wicket to leave Zimbabwe within touching distance.
When Burdett was dismissed in the 18th over with Zimbabwe needing 13 runs from 12 balls, Zimbabwe went on to lose wickets at regular intervals leaving Nyathi stranded at the non-strikers’ end.
Zimbabwe, who needed a boundary of the last two deliveries to win the match, eventually ran out of deliveries at 92 for nine in their 20 overs.
The Mluleki Nkala-coached side will hope to come back into contention in their next two Group A matches against Pakistan tomorrow and Thailand on Saturday.
Three qualifying teams from the eight-team competition will join Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies in the 2014 tournament, which will be staged from March 16 to April 6.