Match Preview – Netherlands vs Zimbabwe, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022/23, 34th Match, Group 2

It’s not often that Zimbabwe have a decent chance of making it to the semi-finals of an ICC tournament. They were one win away from qualifying for the last four of the ICC Knockout – later renamed the Champions Trophy – in 2000, but were unsuccessful against New Zealand; they made the Super Six at the 2003 World Cup but fell short in the race for the final four.

All these years later, a well-rated Zimbabwean unit led by an all-rounder living a dream is a step away from history. To start, they will have to beat the Netherlands, which they will surely like.

Although they are still in contention, Zimbabwe need a collective performance to stay afloat before the much tougher challenge from India comes their way. Wessly Madhevere helped them rack up 79 in nine overs against South Africa, but the rest of their batting contributed little, before the bowling was clubbed for 51 in three overs; but when they secured a one-point win over Pakistan, it was their bowlers Sikandar Raza, Brad Evans, Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava who helped defend a meager 130; and in Bangladesh, only Sean Williams made a decisive contribution as Zimbabwe missed just three points chasing 151.
For the Netherlands, four of their six games so far in this World Cup – including the first round – have seen close finishes. They won two of those four matches, before India and Pakistan ruled them out. But as their bowlers showed by dismissing four batters and making Pakistan work hard even in their 92 pursuit, the Netherlands are not easy to pass.
Despite already being kicked out of the tournament after threatening to upset Bangladesh in their Super 12 opener, the Dutch have certainly left their mark. After all, Max O’Dowd is the World Cup’s fifth-best goalscorer and Bas de Leede is its second-best wicket-taker.
Zimbabwe and the Netherlands don’t meet often – they’ve only faced each other seven times in all formats so far – the No.8 will be on the biggest stage and both teams will relish it.

Zimbabwe LWWLW (Last five matches completed; most recent first)
Netherlands LLLLW

In the spotlight

Zimbabwe will ask for more consistency from their captain Craig Ervin and Sean Williams, two of their most experienced members in the current configuration. They have dropped for a total of seven single-digit scores in 12 innings since arriving in Australia, even as Zimbabwe hope they can deliver when it matters most. Both are in the twilight of their careers, and what better opportunity to ensure they walk away with fond memories?

Dutch bowlers have only conceded more than 160 points twice in six matches in this competition. The show was led by Lower Leedewhich has nine wickets at 2:44 p.m., while Paul van Meekeren isn’t far behind with seven at 19.42 and an excellent economy of 5.66. De Leede will be 23 in a few days; van Meekeren turns 30 next January, but the Netherlands will hope these two can serve them in the same way for years to come.

Team News

Zimbabwe used 13 players in the Super 12 phase, with adjustments only in their bowling line-up. They wouldn’t want to make too many changes to what looks like a sedentary unit, with the only decision being who to leave out in case they decide to recall Luke Jongwe.

Zimbabwe (likely): 1 Wessly Madhevere, 2 Craig Ervine (captain), 3 Milton Shumba, 4 Sean Williams, 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Regis Chakabva (wk), 7 Ryan Burl, 8 Tendai Chatara, 9 Brad Evans, 10 Richard Ngarava, 11 Muzarabani Blessing

The Netherlands have nothing to lose now, so they could give fly-half Stephan Myburgh another chance, given that this could be his farewell tournament. De Leede was substituted against Pakistan after being hit under the eye as he beat and could miss on Wednesday

Netherlands (likely): 1 Vikramjit Singh, 2 Max O’Dowd, 3 Stephan Myburgh, 4 Tom Cooper, 5 Colin Ackermann, 6 Scott Edwards (capt, wk), 7 Roelof van der Merwe, 8 Tim Pringle, 9 Logan van Beek, 10 Fred Klaasen, 11 Paul van Meekeren

It was cold and windy in the build-up to the game in Adelaide, and it could still be chilly on Wednesday with up to 2mm of rain also expected. However, the game is unlikely to be affected.

“The real highlight for us would be to make the semi-finals. I think that would really put the icing on the cake. The guys are still very confident that we’ll get there. We just have to go into those last two games with a lot of energy.”
Zimbabwean captain Craig Ervin

“The novelty [of making it to Super 12s] kind of disappeared now after the first three games. We haven’t put in a full performance in those three games, so the guys are determined to change that when it comes to those last two games and come away with at least one win, but hopefully two wins.”
Netherlands’ Logan van Beek

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