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|Bas de Leede||1||2||0||0||50.00|
|RE Van Der Merwe||75||39||8||3||192.31|
|RE Van Der Merwe||4.0||0||21||1||5.25|
|Paul Van Meekeren||4.0||0||41||0||10.25|
With most of the cricket fraternity busy in following ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, not many would have bothered about the ongoing series between Netherlands and Zimbabwe. Netherlands, however, made a terrific statement in the opening two games of the tour by upsetting Zimbabwe in a relatively one-sided ODI series. Their series win not only opened up the tournament wherein Zimbabwe were perceived to be favorites, but also helped the series draw some interest from International Cricket community. The two teams are set to meet each other once again, this time in the shortest version of the game with the first match to be played at Hazelaarweg Stadion on Sunday, 23rd June. While Zimbabwe are a more experienced unit as compared to the Netherlands, the hosts have done better in the two matches done so far. We expect a terrific contest between the two sides in the opening T20I of the series.
Playing at home against arguably the better opponents, at least on paper, Netherlands have made a serious statement with two back to back wins in the first two matches on this tour. They were well and truly dominant in the first match and fought well in the second one to ensure a 2-0 series win.
In the first match, it were their bowlers who bowled beautifully to set up a relatively easy chase for their batsmen. Paul van Meekeren, Pieter Seelar, and Fred Klaassen picked up a couple of wickets each without giving too many runs away to keep Zimbabwe to a manageable total. Chasing the total, Tobias Visee and Max O'Down got them off to a terrific start with the former the first man to be dismissed after scoring a quick-fire 28. Debutant Max O'Dowd stayed till the end and saw off the chase with a nifty 39-run knock from Wesley Barresi.
Things didn't turn out to be as easy for their bowlers in the second match where Zimbabwe racked up a decent total in the first innings. They started well with their chase as Tobias Visee, and Max O'Dowd once again shared a useful opening partnership, of 46 runs. The experience of Roelof van der Merwe and skipper Pieter Seelar came in handy towards the end of the innings as the duo kept hitting the boundaries at regular intervals. Scott Edwards played the role of an anchor exceptionally well and kept the scoreboard moving with his almost a run-a-ball 44.
All in all, Netherlands have certainly punched above their weight in the two matches gone so far. Much of it has been possible due to two good starts from their opening batsmen. It will be interesting to see how their openers adapt to the shortest version of the game. They have a decent batting lineup, but a bowling lineup which is a little inexperienced and if their bowlers can hold well under pressure in the opening match, it won't be surprising if they go on and extend their limited-overs win streak against Zimbabwe to three.
Tobias Visee, Max O'Dowd, Ben Cooper, Scott Edwards, Wesley Barresi, RE Van Der Merwe, Pieter Seelaar, Fred Klaassen, Bas de Leede, Brandon Glover, Paul Van Meekeren.
Coming into the series, Zimbabwe were certainly the hot favorites to emerge on top. That notion, however, has certainly taken some beating over the course of past few days. They lost both twice in two ODIs of which their loss in the first match came without too much of fight.
In the first ODI, Zimbabwe appeared jittery and understandably so considering that they were playing the match without getting much time to get acquainted to the conditions. Batting first on a rain-affected day, they labored their way to 205 for 8 with Brendan Taylor doing the bulk of the scoring for them. Defending such a total was never going to be easy for them unless they picked quick wickets early on and hence it proved. Netherlands chased down the total with more than four overs to spare and seven wickets in hand.
Zimbabwe were expected to bounce back in the second ODI, and they looked perfectly cruising on their way to defend the total at the midway stage after they had set an imposing total of 290 while batting first. Their bowlers started off well in the second innings and reduced Netherlands to 167 for 5 in the 33rd over, but some poor death bowling coupled with some exhilarating display of batting from Netherlands.
Overall, in the series so far, there's not much Zimbabwe have done wrong. Brendan Taylor was the top scorer for them in the first match and followed it up with a fifty in the second one. The scintillating knock from Sikandar Raza, who scored 85 off 68 deliveries, along with useful contribution Craig Ervine was another positive for them.
Their bowling, however, hasn't looked as penetrative as they'd have liked in both the matches. They've so far failed to defend in both the games with death bowling playing a significant role. It would be interesting to see if they can plug the vulnerabilities they've displayed in the first two matches and if they can do that, they'd be a tough team to beat.
Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, BRM Taylor, Peter Moor, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, C Mpofu.
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In the two matches gone so far, Netherlands have been a better team between the two sides. Their opening batsmen have looked in complete control during the powerplay overs while their middle-order passed the stringent test in the second match with flying colors. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, struggled to get going in the first ODI, probably because of lack of much exposure to these conditions but found some rhythm back in the second match.
With Zimbabwe now looking to be acquainted with the conditions, the experience could be a key in the first T20I. Zimbabwe fare better than the hosts in that aspect and a motivation to get their first win on this tour should bring out best of them. We think Zimbabwe will bring out their 'A' game on Sunday to salvage their first win of the tournament.
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