ICC World T20 2022 | Zimbabwe and Netherlands qualify, cap off participation list
Zimbabwe have qualified for their first ICC World Cup since 2016|
Zimbabwe and Netherlands became the last two teams to qualify for the ICC World T20 to be held in Australia in less than three months’ time after winning their respective qualifier semi-finals on Friday. The two are slated to now play each other in the final to determine their group draws.
The ICC World T20 2022 has all its participants finally locked in, less than three months ahead of the marquee event’s opening fixture. Zimbabwe became the second nation to represent the continent of Africa in the preliminary stage of the competition, while the Netherlands secured back-to-back qualifications after having also featured in the 2021 edition.
The two teams will now take on each other in the final of the qualifier tournament, being held in Zimbabwe itself, the result of which will decide the group stage pairings of the sides. The winner will be placed in Group B alongside West Indies, Ireland and Scotland, while the losing team will have to ward off challenges from Sri Lanka, Namibia and the United Arab Emirates. Each group will see two teams qualify for the Super 12 stage.
The Zimbabwean side was largely propelled by its top order in the semi-final against Papua New Guinea, who had qualified for the 2021 edition. Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine and Wesley Madhevere all scored 30-plus runs at excellent strike rates to take the team to a daunting total of 199/5 in their 20 overs. The opposition never looked like reaching the target, having crumbled to 34/3 in the fifth over. However, a valiant 66 off just 35 deliveries from Tony Ura gave hopes to the island nation, but it was never going to be enough even though he earned himself the man of the match award. They eventually fell 27-runs short, as Blessing Muzarabani was the top performer amidst eight bowlers used by Zimbabwe, returning figures of 2/24 in his four overs.
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This will be Zimbabwe’s first appearance in an ICC World Cup in six years, last having appeared in the 2016 edition of the World T20.
“It’s been a long wait, it’s been a tough journey and for it to actually happen….it’s like a dream come true,” said Madhevere on his team’s success.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, were involved in a low-scoring encounter against the United States of America who were gunning for their first-ever appearance in an ICC marquee event. Batting first, the North American nation got off to a great start, establishing a half-century opening partnership. However, their middle order collapsed like a castle of cards, eventually folding out for 138. The Dutch never really had to push matters, given the phenomenal stroke play of Bas de Leede. The number three struck an astonishing 91 off just 67 balls, remaining unbeaten to see the team home in the penultimate over.
The Netherlands will be keen to improve upon their performance in the previous tournament. They lost all their three group stage games in 2021, including a humiliation against Sri Lanka where they were bowled out for a paltry 44.