ZIMBABWE suffered a three wicket defeat in the first of their three match One Day International series against touring Netherlands at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Clive Madande rescued Zimbabwe from a measly score as the hosts recovered from 98 for 7 in the 21st over to post 249 all out in 47.3 overs.
The wicket-keeper batsman combined with Welly Masakadza for 70 runs before his collaboration with Richard Ngarava yielded 68 runs, but the score proved to be (too) low as Netherlands got to their target with a ball to spare in a nail biting finish.
Zimbabwe struggled with the bat with the top three Innocent Kaia, Craig Ervine, Gary Ballance scoring just 20 runs between them, while Wessly Madhevere succumbed to an unfortunate run out at 17 runs, while looking in good form.
Things looked to be heading towards an embarrassingly low score as Sikandar Raza fell for 22 having faced 31 balls.
Ryan Burl did not hang around too long either with just 10 runs as Fred Klaasen did the damage with three wickets while Paul van Meekeren took two.
Madande knuckled down in the face of adversity as he faced 98 balls for his 74 runs, which featured six boundaries.
In his 8th wicket partnership with Masakadza, the two hauled Zimbabwe back into contention and once the latter departed all hope was on the power hitting Richard Ngarava to come in and swing his bat to inspire the team towards a competitive score.
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Bulls to charge into Zimbabwe gold stocks
- Ndiraya concerned as goals dry up
- Letters: How solar power is transforming African farms
As was hoped, Ngarava came in and did his part with 35 runs from 27 balls, hitting three fours and two maximums.
Zimbabwe failed to bat through their 50 overs, but they got their applause with the fans firmly believing that the team had pulled this one from the fire.
And after the tourists had been reduced to 64 for 5 in the 21st over, it looked like Zimbabwe were on their way to collecting 10 points in the Super League.
Yet, Man of the Match, Teja Nidamanuru arrived and set about to make the repair job look so easy with a century, plus 10 runs.
To add salt to injury Masakadza let him off the hook after spilling him twice in successive Raza deliveries, while he was on 83.
Nidamanuru, who faced 96 balls for his total where he hit nine boundaries and three sixes, combined with Shariz Ahmad (30) and then Paul van Meekeren who hit 21 from 9.
But Collin Akerman helped lay the platform with his 72 ball 50.
Zimbabwe seam bowler Blessing Muzarabani, returning from injury, struggled particularly in his last over and Zimbabwe’s 49th where he was hit for 13.
In the end he finished with 0 for 49 from 10 overs, while Ngarava had 2 for 44.
Masakadza took the most wickets for Zimbabwe with 3 for 36, also from ten overs.
Zimbabwe skipper, Ervine observed that the team should have done better with the ball also pointing out to poor fielding.
“I thought 250 was enough you and our bowling attack is good enough to defend it. You know at one stage it looked we were only gonna get 150 so after getting that score we should have gone on to defend that. Unfortunately our fielding let us down. I thought Netherlands really utilized those conditions well and put us under pressure,” he said.
Zimbabwe; Craig Ervine, Innocent Kaia, Gary Ballance, Wessly Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Clive Madande, Wellington Masakadza, Bradley Evans, Richard Ngarava, Blessing Muzarabani
Netherlands; Vikram Singh, Max O'Dowd, Tom Cooper, Musa Ahmad, Colin Ackerman, Scott Edwards, Teja Nidamanuru, Shariz Ahmad, Paul Van Meekeren, Fred Klaasen, Brandon Glover
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinmapasure