With another strong hand from Sean Williams and an all-around gem from Sikandar Raza, Zimbabwe made it two wins in a row with a six-wicket win over Netherlands. This means they are now 2-0 in the tournament.
Raza had a huge effect on the game. He started by taking four wickets, which helped keep the other team at what he thought was a “par” total of 315 because of how the track was set up. That was followed by a really aggressive, hard-hitting show that ended with him becoming the Zimbabwean player with the fastest ODI century (102 runs in 54 balls, unbeaten) ever.
But even though Raza will get all the attention, Williams’ part cannot be downplayed. His knock showed a lot about how to play the game. After coming in to bat in the 14th over, it took him a few overs to get going. In the 17th through 21st overs, though, he scored 48 runs. And he kept working steadily until the 25th over, when Raza joined him.
At that point, Raza made his plans clear right away, while Williams became more quiet. Netherlands probably wishes they hadn’t missed some chances during the innings, but once Williams and then Raza got going, there was no stopping the Zimbabwe train.
Raza finished the game with six fours, eight sixes, and three sixes in a row in a brutal attack on Shariz Ahmad in the 39th over. He was so dominant at Harare Sports Club that you wondered if any score the Netherlands could have made would have been enough. If it makes you feel any better, they tied for their best score in ODIs with 315.
The Netherlands were put in to bat on a great hitting track. They dealt with some early movement and then sped through their innings. Max O’Dowd and Vikramjit Singh put up the first 120 runs. Then, Vikramjit and captain Scott Edwards, who hit 83, put up the next 96 runs.
But despite their best efforts, they were never able to get out of hand because Raza kept hitting with the ball, using his years of skill and many different moves. Raza broke the first-wicket partnership with a faster ball outside off that O’Dowd hit with his bat. In his next over, he got Wesley Barresi out with a faster ball that was full.
Edwards and Vikramjit were probably hoping for a big end, but Raza came back in the 39th over and got Vikramjit to miss a sweep when he was on 88. This broke a dangerous stand. The wicket of the set batter could have taken the wind out of the Netherlands’ sails. They still managed to score 81 runs in the last ten overs, which was good but not good enough for the surface.
And it turned out that way, as Raza came back with the bat to finish off an otherwise good Netherlands effort.