World Twenty20 7th Match Group B qualifying round: Zimbabwe prevail in last-ball thriller

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sibanda instantly became a hero when he hammered the last ball for six

Zimbabwe kept their hopes of making it to the group stages of the World Twenty20 alive thanks to Vusi Sibanda’s last-ball six, which helped the African nation defeat the Netherlands by five wickets in Sylhet.

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor and opener Hamilton Masakadza both deserve a lot of credit as they scored 49 and 43 respectively.

Netherlands captain Peter Borren would have been brooding over his decision to bat first early on after opening batsman Stephan Myburgh was given out lbw off the bowling of Prosper Utseya for a golden duck.

Wesley Barresi made 12 runs before he was clean bowled by Tinashe Panyangara.

Michael Swart failed to have an impact as well as he was run out by Tendai Chatara for three runs.

Borren fared no better as he was caught by Elton Chigumbura at mid-off off the bowling of Utseya for eight runs.

Ben and Tom Cooper stabilised the innings with a brilliant 52-run partnership before Ben Cooper was caught by Panyangara at long-on off the bowling of Natsai Mushangwe for 20.

Tom Cooper and Mudassar Bukhari kept the runs flowing with an unbeaten 53-run partnership, during which Cooper brought up his half-century, to take the Netherlands to 140/5 off their 20 overs.

Cooper finished on 72 of 58 balls, which included nine boundaries and a six, while Bukhari remained undefeated on 14.

Utseya was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Panyangara and Mushangwe chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 141 to win, Zimbabwe got off to a poor start as opening batsman Sikandar Raza was caught by Pieter Seelar at deep midwicket off the bowling of Ahsan Jamil for 13.

Masakadza and Taylor made up for the early loss of Raza with an excellent 62-run partnership before Masakadza was clean bowled by Seelar for 43 off 45 balls, which included three boundaries and a six.

Chigumbura failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught by Borren in the cover region off the bowling of Seelar.

Taylor ended up making 49 off 39 deliveries, which included two boundaries and a six, before he was also caught by Borren in the cover region, but only off the bowling of Timm van der Gugten.

Sean Williams made a quickfire 26 before he was run out by Jamil.

Needing one run to win off the last ball of the match, Sibanda instantly became the hero of Zimbabwe when he smashed the ball over the long-on boundary for a massive six.

Seelar was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Jamil and van der Gugten snapped up one wicket each.

Borren was disappointed to have lost off the last ball of the match, and said: “I thought we were probably 20 short. That said we’ve got a good varied bowling attack, but we would have been confident with 150. It was a pretty poor start from us, but Tom Cooper is a class player and he showed that.

“Full credit to Zimbabwe, Brendan held their innings together with experience. Maybe if it wasn’t for a French cut in the last over, we could have done more.”

Taylor, who was named Man of the Match, was still in shock at what he had just witnessed.

“Very basic errors on the boundary cost us 10-15 runs,” he said. “Not good enough for a professional outfit. Hopefully we can rectify that against UAE and we’ll have a chance.

“We made it difficult for ourselves. They bowled in good areas. I tried to get us as far as we could and I’m glad we finished it off. We knew we were in with a chance because it can be tough to defend in the evening. Williams and I just wanted to take it to the end and thankfully Vusi was there to finish it off.”

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