Sylhet: Zimbabwe kept themselves in contention for a spot in the main draw of the ICC World Twenty20 Championships, beating Netherlands by five wickets in a Group B qualifying match here on Wednesday.
Chasing 141, the Zimbabweans overcame some hiccups to reach 146 for five in 20 overs to stay afloat in the competition after losing their opening match. Hamilton Masakadza (43 off 45 balls) and man of the match skipper Brendan Taylor (49 off 39 balls) were the stars of the chase after fall of wickets in quick succession caused some anxiety in the Zimbabwean camp.
For the Netherlands Pieter Seelaar picked two for nine in his fantastic two overs. Earlier, after electing bat first, the Netherlands top-order crumbled spectacularly before Tom Cooper's 58-ball 72 took them to a respectable total.
The Dutch were reeling at 35 for four before Cooper came to their rescue, helped by some decent contributions from the lower-half of the line-up.
Tom Cooper combined with his brother Ben (20) to put together 52 runs for the fifth wicket which steadied the team's innings. After Ben was dismissed by Natsai Mushangwe, holing out to Tinashe Panyangara, Tom found another steady partner in Mudassar Bukhari (14 not out). Both batsmen remained unbeaten with Tom striking nine fours and a six in his impressive knock.
The two combined for 53 runs to take the Netherlands past the 100-run mark. For Zimbabwe, Prosper Utseya grabbed two wickets for 24 runs in his economical four overs.
He trapped Stephan Myburgh LBW off the third ball of the match before dismissing skipper Peter Borren (8). In reply, Zimbabwe lost their first wicket with 25 runs on the scoreboard when Ahsan Malik Jamil had Sikander Raza (13) caught by Seelaar at deep mid-wicket.
At this point, Masakadza combined with Taylor to put on 62 runs for the second wicket before the former's defence was shattered by Seelaar.
Taylor then teamed up with Sean Williams (26) to take the team closer to the target before both were dismissed in quick succession. With seven needed off the last over Vusi Sibanda struck a couple of sixes to seal the issue after some anxiety. The win put Zimbabwe on top of group B.