Williams, Ballance, Madhevere help Zimbabwe clinch series against Netherlands

Harare (Agenices): Wessly Madhevere and Gary Ballance notched up fifties, and Sean Williams hit 43 and took a three-wicket haul as Zimbabwe beat the Netherlands by seven wickets in the final ODI in Harare to clinch the series 2-1.

Opting to bat first, Netherlands started off slowly with Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd putting on a 67-run partnership for the opening wicket. Once fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani removed O’Dowd for 38, Vikramjit also fell soon after, to the offspin of Sikandar Raza. Colin Ackermann and Musa Ahmed steadied the innings with a stand of 60 for the third wicket.

However, Madhevere bowled Ahmed out for 29 in the 30th over to trigger the collapse. From 129 for 2, Netherlands lost their next five wickets for 63 runs. Captain Scott Edwards’ 41-ball 34 and contributions from the lower order lifted the visitors to 231 for 9. While Williams accounted for Wesley Barresi and Edwards, Raza added Teja Nidamanuru’s wicket to his bag.

In reply, Zimbabwe were never in trouble with Madhevere and captain Craig Ervine stitching together a 96-run partnership in 18 overs for the first wicket.

The stand was broken when Shariz Ahmad had Ervine caught six runs short of a half-century. In his next over, the legspinner removed Madhevere too, who scored a 61-ball 50 with the help of seven fours. But even before Netherlands could sense an opening, Ballance and Williams added 96 to blunt their attack.

Ballance top-scored for Zimbabwe with an unbeaten 64 off 72 deliveries, while Williams made 43 before being bowled by Fred Klaassen in the 39th over. Raza then smashed an unbeaten nine-ball 18 to complete the formalities with 50 balls to spare.