Madhevere hat-trick inspires Zimbabwe to sensational victory
Zimbabwe – 271 all out in 49.2 overs (Sean Williams 77, Clive Madande 52, Wessly Madhevere 43; Shariz Ahmad 5/43, Colin Ackermann 2/51, Paul van Meekeren 2/66)
Netherlands – 270 all out in 50 overs (Max O’Dowd 81, Tom Cooper 74, Scott Edwards 36; Wessly Madhevere 3/36, Sikandar Raza 3/39, Blessing Muzarabani 1/39)
Zimbabwe won by one run
Wessly Madhevere claimed a sensational hat-trick to set up a dramatic finish as Zimbabwe edged the Netherlands by one run in the second one-day international match played at Harare Sports Club on Thursday.
This was perhaps an even more nerve-racking game than the first, with the balance of power shifting from one side to the other several times during the encounter.
Zimbabwe batted first again, although this time round it was their own choice after winning the toss.
Craig Ervine was in superb form right from the start, scoring freely, and was well supported by Madhevere in an opening partnership of 61 in 11 overs.
Ervine looked set for a big score, but when he had 39 he attempted a reverse sweep to a straight ball from Colin Ackermann and was bowled for 39, having faced 42 balls and hit five fours.
Gary Ballance did not last long, as he tried to force a straight ball from Paul van Meekeren through the leg side, only to be trapped lbw for 14 – 80 for two.
Sean Williams, back in the team after injury and illness, batted very well and looked to be settling into a good partnership with Madhevere.
Madhevere seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough in his batting form when he was given out caught at the wicket off the leg-spinner Shariz Ahmad for a fine 43, scored off 50 balls.
This began a minor slump to Ahmad, as without addition Sikandar Raza was also caught at the wicket, inside edge, off a perfect googly from the same bowler, and then Ryan Burl was caught on the leg side for eight – 120 for five in the 25th over.
But the balance of the match turned again with a superb partnership between Williams and Clive Madande, the wicket-keeper coming good again when runs were most needed and he was the last recognised batter to come in.
With outstanding batting, the pair added 104 for the sixth wicket in 15.3 overs, taking the score to 224 when Williams was caught in the deep, once again off Ahmad.
He scored 77 off 73 balls, with 11 fours.
Ahmad claimed a fifth wicket when Brad Evans was lbw second ball.
Wellington Masakadza (10) proved a useful partner for a stand of 21 with Madande, who was finally caught in the deep for 52 off 57 balls.
There was a valuable last-wicket partnership between the two pace bowlers, Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani, who added 24 together, 17 of them to the latter.
Chatara was finally caught at the wicket for four, as the Zimbabwe innings closed at 271, with four balls of the 50 overs left unbowled.
It was a difficult target for the Netherlands, but they began with a brisk opening partnership of 41 before Vikramjit Singh was caught off Muzarabani for 14 in the eighth over.
Then came a big stand between Max O’Dowd and Tom Cooper, with the Zimbabwe bowlers unable to break through or keep the batters quiet.
They took the score to 166 before O’Dowd went for a quick single into the covers, and some fine fielding by Ervine and quick work by Madande saw Cooper run out for 74 – he faced 84 balls and hit nine fours.
At 197, O’Dowd’s fine innings came to an end for 81, as he missed a slog-sweep against Raza and was given out lbw after hitting two sixes and six fours.
When O’Dowd left, the Netherlands needed another 75 runs in 9.3 overs.
Three overs later Zimbabwe achieved a remarkable and decisive breakthrough as Madhevere took the ball.
Off his first ball he had Colin Ackermann very smartly stumped by Madande after making 28 off 36 balls.
Then with his next deliveries he bowled out Teja Nidamanuru, the century-maker of the first match, and van Meekeren, another hero of Tuesday, to complete a remarkable hat-trick.
The feat meant he had become just the third Zimbabwean to achieve an ODI hat-trick, with Eddo Brandes and Prosper Utseya being the other bowlers to accomplish the milestone.
Scott Edwards was still there, but the Netherlands were now struggling with only four wickets left and 59 needed from 39 balls.
Three overs later, on 234, Ahmad (8) was run out from a muddle between the batters – 38 now needed from 21, a tough task.
So much depended now on Edwards, but on 252 he slogged a ball from Raza to be caught at long-on for 36 off 28 balls.
Three balls later Musa Ahmed (4) hit a high catch off Raza to be caught near the midwicket boundary, which left the last two batters to score 19 runs off the final over, bowled by Chatara.
Ryan Klein and Fred Klaasen did remarkably well for two tail-enders to score nine runs off the first four balls, and then Klaassen drove the fifth ball for six.
This left just four runs needed off the final delivery.
Klaassen drove it deep, but could not pierce the field – they had to try for three which would tie the match, but it ended in an easy run-out and a victory for Zimbabwe by one run.
Madhevere was the eighth bowler used, and with his hat-trick he returned figures of three for 36, while fellow off-spinner Raza had three for 39.
The three-match series is now level at one victory apiece, with the decider scheduled for Saturday at the same venue.