Zimbabwe and Netherlands, the final two teams to qualify for T20 World Cup 2022

Friday saw the final two berths available for the T20 World Cup in Australia this October fill up as Zimbabwe and Netherlands beat Papua New Guinea and the United States of America respectively in the qualifier tournament. The two will now face off in the final on Sunday to determine the final group placings for the opening round of matches in the main event in Australia. While the winner will progress to Group B, with Ireland, West Indies and Scotland, the loser of the final will be paired against Namibia, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.

Qualifiers hosts, Zimbabwe beat PNG in the first semifinal by 27 runs, booking their place in a T20 World Cup for the sixth time, and a first in an ICC World Cup since 2016. Winning the toss, the host nation elected to bat first and posted 199 as the top three in Regis Chakabva (30 off 19), skipper Craig Ervine (38 off 30) and Wesley Madhevere (42 off 29) added 110 of those. Quickfire contributions from the middle order, Sikandar Raza Butt (22 off 14), Sean Williams (22 off 11) and Milton Shumba (29 off 14) propelled Zimbabwe to a big finish.

PNG got off to a horrendous start in the chase as they lost three wickets in the powerplay and were struggling at 34/3 when Tony Ura came in to bat. The 32-year old scored a valiant 66 off 35 deliveries without much of a support from the other end as Zimbabwe finished at 172/8 in their 20 overs. Blessing Muzarabani was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-24-2.

“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,” Wesley Madhevere said on his team’s qualification to the T20 World Cup in Australia.

In the other semifinal, Netherlands got the better of the US by seven wickets. Looking to qualify in their first ICC tournament ever, US got off to a flying start as openers Steven Taylor and Monank Patel added fifty runs inside the first five overs. Zimbabwe then took over the control by picking wickets in quick intervals with Paul van Meekeren (2/22) and Bastian de Leede (2/23) leading the tally. Nisarg Patel played a crucial 23-ball-28 towards the end to take his side to a respectable total of 138 before they were dismissed with two balls to spare in the innings.

Saurabh Netravalkar struck in the first over as he dismissed Stephan Myburgh without a run on the scoreboard before it was Bastian de Leede time. The player of the match put on a spectacular show of 91 off 67 balls as he took the men in orange across the winning line and into the T20 World Cup 2022 first round.

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