Harare (Agencies): Teja Nidamanuru’s unbeaten 96-ball 110 from No. 7 did the job for Netherlands as they pulled off a come-from-behind three-wicket win over Zimbabwe.
Chasing 250 for victory in the first of three ODIs, Netherlands were staring down the barrel at 110 for 6 in the 32nd over before Nidamanuru first wove partnerships with Shariz Ahmadand Paul van Meekeren and then finished off the game with some fireworks.
Nidamanuru walked in after Richard Ngarava and Wellington Masakadza had dismantled Netherlands’ top order. Colin Ackermann was still there, though, and put up a 46-run stand with Nidamanuru, but Masakadza knocked Ackermann over for 50 in his final over.
It was the bottom few left then, and Nidamanuru and Shariz picked up a boundary each in the first ten balls of their partnership before a quiet period left Netherlands needing 108 off 72 balls. They found the odd boundary, and Nidamaduru went past 50, but it wasn’t till the 43th over that things started to get a bit desperate.
Zimbabwe bowled five bowlers between the 43rd and the 48th over but the rotation didn’t work in terms of stemming the flow of runs. It did, however, involve Shariz being run out for 30 to end a 110-run stand off just 94 balls.
Nidamadaru brought up his century in the 48th over, with a four off Ngarava and with van Meekeren hitting another four in the same over, Netherlands needed 19 from 12. That became just four from the last over after Nidamadaru smacked a six and van Meekeren a four in the 49th over, bowled by Blessing Muzarabani.
It went down to the penultimate ball, before van Meekeren hit Brad Evans for six to finish the job.
Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe were put under the pump after being asked to bat. Fred Klaassen and van Meekeren removed the top three cheaply in the first powerplay. Wessly Madhevere and Sikandar Raza got off to starts but Madhevere was run-out in the 11th over.
Brandon Glover, Vikramjit Singh and Shariz chipped away to leave Zimbabwe languishing at 98 for 7 in the 21st over, before Masakadza joined Clive Madande to repair the innings.
The two absorbed the pressure by turning the strike over and were not perturbed despite scoring only five boundaries in their 99-ball partnership. They put up 70 runs when Masakadza became the second run-out victim of the innings.
After that, 32 of the 66 runs between Madande and Ngarava, who smashed two sixes, came in boundaries. Madande reached his fifty in the 41st over and carried on before being the last man out for a 98-ball 74. It was a heroic effort, but could not stop Netherlands from earning their third win of the ODI Super League.