Zimbabwe Claim T20 Qualifier Title As Raza Rips Through Netherlands

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Zimbabwe claim T20 Qualifier title as Raza rips through Netherlands. [File picture] Sikandar Raza claimed record figures of 4 for 8, the best ever in T20Is for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Claim T20 Qualifier Title As Raza Rips Through Netherlands[File picture] Sikandar Raza claimed record figures of 4 for 8, the best ever in T20Is for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe claimed the honours trophy in the final of their first T20 WC Qualifier, with Sikandar Raza claiming record figures of 4-8 in his four overs, the best ever in T20Is for Zimbabwe. The hosts choked out the Dutch chase in defence of a modest 132-run total, sealing a 37-run win in front of a raucous full house crowd at Queen's Club Bulawayo.

The result means Zimbabwe will join the West Indies, Scotland and Ireland in Group B at Hobart for the World Cup's preliminary “First Round”, while the Dutch will face Sri Lanka, Namibia and the UAE at Geelong in Group A, with the top two from each group qualifying for the main event.

Regis Chakabva and Craig Ervine got the hosts off to a crowd-pleasing start after the latter won what would prove a crucial toss. Chakabva jump-started an adventurous innings comprising of switch hits, sweeps and scoops that brought he crowd to their feet. But the Dutch fought back hard with the ball and a combination of disciplined and canny bowling combined with occasionally error-ridden batting saw the hosts bowled out in the last over for just 131.

Ervine would fall to a Logan van Beek offcutter that skimmed his bat on its way into off stump, and Chakabva's intent got the better of him soon after as he looked to reverse-sweep Bas de Leede and was pinned in front before even starting his swing, arresting the momentum at 42-2 in the fifth over. Wessley Madhevere went in the seventh sweeping a low full toss from Tim Pringle into the hands of deep square leg, as the Dutch again put on the squeeze as the field spread.

Raza and Sean Williams both looked to target Shariz Ahmed in the 12th, the former with some success, but the latter picking out deep midwicket. In the next over van Beek would silence the crowd with a double strike, holding one back and finding Milton Shumba's leading edge and then rapping Raza on the pads with a off-cutter in front of leg stump with his next delivery, and another strong appeal drawing what would prove a twitchy umpire's finger, leaving Zimbabwe six-down still two runs short of triple figures. The innings never recovered, the Dutch seam attack rampant as the hosts were rolled up for just 132 with three balls unused.

The Zimbabweans were intent on making the tourists fight for every run however, and the Dutch chase would stutter and sputter out as the wicket slowed and began to offer generous turn. Max O'Dowd struggled to get bat on Madhevere early, and was just starting to find his range when he was dismissed in most unfortunate fashion, missing a sweep in the third and struck in the crotch, only to see a raised finger when he recovered. The umpires' enthusiasm for any and all LBW appeals persisted as Bas de Leede took one on the pads from Madhevere and was duly sent on his way. A direct hit from Shumba did for Tom Cooper just after the powerplay, before Stephan Myburgh, who had looked threatening early, was pinned dead to rights by Raza in the tenth, the first of four wickets for the off-spinner who looked nigh-unplayable throughout.

Combined with Sean William's miserly spell of 1-10 in 4 overs, Raza would throttle the Dutch chase before ripping through the lower order as the Dutch slumped from 45-2 to 62-8 through the middle overs. Teja Nidamanuru would scratch together a rearguard 21 off 27 with the tail, but the Dutch never got back in the game, Nidamanuru last man out to Richard Ngarava as Zimbabwe claimed some long-awaited silverware on their way to Australia.

In the bronze medal match, Papua New Guinea defended a still lower total. They made just 97 despite bright start from Lega Siaka and Asad Vala, as USA's slow bowlers, in-form Nisarg Patel and youngsters Yasir Mohammad and Vatsal Vaghela orchestrated a remarkable collapse, but the American chase would fall on its face of the gate and keep stumbling/ Mohammad and Vaghela were the only bats to pass 15 as the USA were skittled for 92.

Earlier, Uganda had also successfully defended a modest total struggling to just 103-7 but holding Hong Kong to 98 in reply, the returning Cosmas Kyewuta taking back to back wickets in the final over to see off a late surge and close out a 5-run win.

Jersey meanwhile had seen off Singapore in the wooden spoon match, restricting Singapore to 140-7 before chasing comfortably inside 16 overs, Jonty Jenner finishing with a flourish taking four consecutive boundaries off Anatha Krishna to seal a 6-wicket win.

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