x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Zimbabwe recover World Twenty20 hopes with win over Netherlands

Brendan Taylor hit a 49 and Hamilton Masakadza scored a 45 to lead Zimbabwe over Netherlands on Wednesday and keep their chances of advancing out of Group B at the World Twenty20 alive.

Brendan Taylor scored 49 runs from 39 balls for Zimbabwe on Wednesday. STR / AFP / March 19, 2014
Brendan Taylor scored 49 runs from 39 balls for Zimbabwe on Wednesday. STR / AFP / March 19, 2014

SYLHET, BANGLADESH // Given Zimbabwe’s penchant for last-ball finishes, perhaps Vusi Sibanda’s ice-cool demeanour at the conclusion of a tense win over the Netherlands was to be expected.

Two days earlier, the African side had fallen the wrong side of the outcome of the final delivery against Ireland.

If they followed that up with defeat against the doughty Dutch, they would have been out of the competition with a game still to play.

Despite the high stakes, with a single needed, the Dutch fielders encroaching and a sizeable Sylhet crowd at fever pitch, Sibanda was calmness personified.

He stepped in line with a length-ball from Ahsan Malik and deposited the ball around 30 metres over the long-on fence for probably the biggest six of the tournament to date. Easy.

“We needed that as we had made it very difficult for ourselves,” said Brendan Taylor, the Zimbabwe captain, who was named man of the match for making 49 in the run-chase.

“Vusi has been playing for 10 years and he is a very talented player, although that is not a position he is used to.

“It is something new to him but I always had faith in him. With the field up it does making it a little bit easier.”

Peter Borren, the defeated Netherlands captain, praised his side for the way they fought back after they looked set to be comprehensively beaten when they were 35 for four early in the piece.

“We fought hard, we put them under pressure and we were very disappointed to lose in the last over,” Borren said.

“Twenty20 can be pretty harsh and I guess this was harsh on us. While I’m disappointed with the result I’m proud of the fight the guys showed.

“We have come here to play positive cricket. We are not going to take a step back. Obviously you don’t want to be four-down after six overs but after that we rebuilt.

“We are not interested in coming here to score 140. I’d rather take a few risks because 155 is probably par out here.”

pradley@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE