Ballance, Madhevere star as Zimbabwe secure ODI series win against Netherlands

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HARARE – Half-centuries from Gary Ballance and Wessly Madhevere helped Zimbabwe defeat the Netherlands by seven wickets and win a World Cup Super League one-day international series 2-1 on Saturday.

After two midweek thrillers that were won in the final over, the home side were always ahead on run rate after restricting the tourists to 231 for nine.

Sikandar Raza hit the match-winning four, taking Zimbabwe to 235 for three with 50 balls remaining at Harare Sports Club.

“Winning the series is huge for us as a team, and for me as an individual,” said Zimbabwe all-rounder and man of the series Sean Williams.

“Winning becomes a habit. We had got to a stage where losing had become a habit. We are learning to win again.

“Wessly is an extremely talented kid and a fantastic competitor. It is huge for us as a team because he is maturing.”

Netherlands captain Scott Edwards was upbeat despite losing the series after winning the opening match.

“We played a lot of good cricket here and will be back in a few months (for a World Cup qualifying tournament) and hopefully be very competitive.”

Zimbabwe have often battled in all three formats due to poor top-order batting, but openers Madhevere and captain Craig Ervine excelled by putting on 96 for the first wicket.

After their departures, former England batter Ballance and Williams maintained a dominance over the Dutch attack to deliver a 96-run third-wicket partnership.

While Ballance top scored with an unbeaten 64, including eight fours, Madhevere (50), Ervine (44) and Williams (43) played significant roles.

Teenage Dutch leg-spinner Shariz Ahmad, who took five wickets on Thursday in a one-run second match loss, captured another two, but they came at a high price as he conceded 71 runs.

Opener Max O’Dowd top scored with 38 for the Netherlands after Edwards won the toss for the first time in the series.

Colin Ackerman (37) and Edwards (34) also made valuable knocks. However, none of the trio could manage a six, with O’Dowd hitting six fours, Ackermann two and Edwards four.

Williams was the most impressive Zimbabwe bowler, capturing three wickets for 41 runs, including those of Ackermann and Edwards.

With both countries out of contention for direct entry to the 2023 World Cup in India, they used the series to prepare for a qualifying tournament Zimbabwe will host in June and July.

Scores in Brief

Netherlands 231/9, (50 overs), Zimbabwe 231/9 (41.4/50 overs) – Zimbabwe won by 7 wickets (with 50 balls remaining)