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Zimbabwe Women Lose World Cup Qualifier Opener

Zimbabwe's women were on the receiving end of a comprehensive defeat by the Dutch, in their first game of the Women's World Cup Qualifiers in Bangladesh. Batting first, Zimbabwe posted 145, but this proved to be nowhere near enough ar the Dutch powered their way to the target in less than 26 overs and for the loss of 4 wickets (2 of them run-outs). That leaves Zimbabwe bottom of Group A ahead of their next match, against Sri Lanka on the 17th (Thursday). Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 145 (50 overs; Nyathi 29, Lanser 2/17), Netherlands 148/4 (25.3 overs; Veringmeier 56, Mazvishaya 1/22). Netherlands win by 6 wickets.

Netherlands Crumble Against Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe stormed to another convincing win in their second World Cup warm-up match in Dubai yesterday, beating Netherlands by 115 runs. Batting first after winning the toss, Zimbabwe powered their way to 249/8 from their 50 overs, again led by Brendan Taylor (56) while Regis Chakabva (29) and Tatenda Taibu (30) also made useful top-order contributions. At the other end of the order, Graeme Cremer held the innings together, coming in when Zim were on 158/7 and scoring a run-a-ball 42 not-out to help boost the eventual total. Mudassar Bukhari (3/42) and Bernard Loots (3/50) were the pick of the Dutch bowlers.

With the spinners having been given a good run in the previous warm-up match, Zimbabwe opted to test out their pace approach this time, with Chris Mpofu, Shingi Masakadza and Ed Rainsford all playing, while Elton Chigumbura finally found some form with the ball after what's so far been a woeful season for him. Rainsford made the first breakthrough, removing opener Eric Szwarczynski without score - although that was his only wicket of the match. Wickets fell regularly throughout the Netherlands innings - Alexei Kervezee top-scored with 33, but with the bottom three falling without score and Pieter Seelaar unable to bat through injury, Netherlands were never close to being in with a shout and were bowled out for 134. Mpofu led the Zimbabwe figures with 3/31 from 8 overs, closely followed by Chigumbura with 3/32 from 7 overs, while Sean Williams made a useful contribution, taking 2/5 after bowling just 8 balls.

That brings the Dubai leg of the tour to an end, and with two convincing wins (yes, against Associate opposition, but Ireland in particular are usually seen as being on a par with Zimbabwe these days) and some out-of-form players finally getting some decent performances under their belts - Taylor and Chigumbura in partcular - there's a lot that the side can take from these matches to boost their confidence. There are now two further warm-up matches to play in India, with the next - against South Africa in Nagpur on Saturday - being the "big one". Full scorecard for this match is below the cut.
Zimbabwe 249/8 (50 overs; Taylor 56, Mudassar Bukhari 3/42), Netherlands 134 (33.2 overs; Kervezee 33, Mpofu 3/31). Zimbabwe win by 115 runs.

Zimbabwe XI Ease to Victory over Netherlands

Zimbabwe XI took revenge for the drubbing they received from Netherlands in their one-day fixture with a comprehensive 137-run victory in the far more important Intercontinental Cup meeting between the two sides. It's a result that, an hour after the match started on Sunday, looked unlikely - after winning the toss and opting to bat, Zim's openers slumped to a dire 3/8 in 3 overs, leaving them with a mountain to climb, but climb it they did, with a lot of help from Craig Ervine. Coming in at number five, the younger Ervine put down roots and, initially with Stuart Matsikenyeri (44) and later with Regis Chakabva (34), built the foundations for what eventually turned out to be a decent first-innings score. Ervine was eventually out for a career-best 145, as Zimbabwe XI reached 298 before being bowled out. Berend Westdijk, responsible for the early carnage, went on to be the best of the Deutch bowlers, taking 4/46.

The Dutch batting fortunately turned out to be even flakier than the Zimbabwean. Once again it fell to three players to form the groundings of their innings, but Wesley Barresi (81), Pietar Seelar (40*) and Ruud Nijman (23) received virtually no support from their compatriots - none of them reaching double figures - as the Dutch were bowled out for 186, handing Zimbabwe XI the first-innings points and a lead of 112.

That gave Zimbabwe a chance to build an unassailable second-innings lead, a chance that for once they didn't squander. Four of the visitors passed 50 - Vusi Sibanda's 88 led the scoring and Matsikenyeri (68) was again in the runs, while Ervine (59) and Chakabva (54) took the lead past 400 before Sibanda declared with the score on 305/5, setting the Dutch a target of 418 to win the day - or batting for a day and a half to force a draw.

Neither of those outcomes ever really looked likely, although to their credit the Dutch didn't give-up without a fight. Eric Szwarczynski led the fight with a composed 81, while Seelar (81) kept the tail wagging for long enough to perhaps cause a few nerves amongst the Zimbabweans. The home side only managed to reach 280, though (with Ruud Nijman unable to bat due to a broken hand), leaving Zimbabwe XI with a clear win and the maximum 20 tournament points from the match.

Zimbabwe XI now move on to Canada for their next fixture. After this performance, you would have to consider them favourites to secure another win. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe XI 298 (89 overs; Ervine 145, Westdijk 4/46) & 305/5 decl (70.3 overs; Sibanda 88, Jonkman 2/63), Netherlands 186 (75.5 overs; Barresi 81, Mushangwe 3/47) & 280 (94 overs; Seelar 81*, Maruma 3/44). Zimbabwe XI win by 137 runs.

In-Form Netherlands Trounce Zimbabwe XI in Tour Opener

In some ways you could have probably seen this coming - while the Netherlands are currently on something of a roll, having just defeated Bangladesh and claimed their place on the ICC ODI rankings table, most of the Zimbabwe XI side haven't seen competitive cricket since the end of the domestic season, and their rustiness certainly showed yesterday as they slumped to a 58-run defeat against the men in orange. Not that excuses should be made for such a dismal performance.

Netherlands won the toss and opted to bat, and in the opening innings it seemed that Zimbabwe had the upper hand - the bowlers certainly kept a lid on the Dutch, taking regular wickets and effectively restricting the scoring as the home side only managed to limp their way to 194/9 from their 50 overs. Tom Cooper (49) and Wesley Barresi (47) were the only two notable knocks, while Ed Rainsford led Zim's bowling figures with 3/39, assisted by Shingi Masakadza and Nathan Waller who chipped in with two apiece. At the half-way point, a Zimbabwean win certainly seemed likely enough.

As anyone who follows Zim cricket will know, though, you can never really place your faith in the batsmen, and while the bowling attack came to play, the batsman never did. Whether is was lack of match practice, unfamiliar conditions, or a Dutch attack that had been paying attention is ultimately irrelevant - Zimbabwe simply failed to apply themselves, with several players getting bogged down and failing to score at anything close to the required rate. Only Charles Coventry, with 31 off 37 balls, came out of the innings with any pride intact, while of the rest only Stuart Matsikenyeri (22) passed 15. The innings ended with a whimper as Zimbabwe's innings ended for a paltry 136. It's worth noting that Sean Williams was unable to bat through injury.

It's a performance that simply must not be repeated in the Intercontinental Cup match, starting tomorrow, if Zimbabwe XI want to retain any chance of reaching the final. At the moment, though, the Dutch clearly have the upper hand going into that match. Full scorecard below the cut.
Netherlands 194/9 (50 overs; Cooper 49, Rainsford 3/39), Zimbabwe XI 136 (39.4 overs; Coventry 31, Jonkman 3/18). Netherlands win by 58 runs.

Zimbabwe XI Leave for Netherlands, Canada

Zimbabwe XI left Harare yesterday for two fixtures of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Intercontinental Cup in the Netherlands and Canada.

In the Netherlands, Zimbabwe XI will play the hosts in a one-day match in Amstelveen on Friday and then a four-day match starting on Sunday. They will then leave for Canada to play the hosts in a another Intercontinental Cup match. That one is scheduled for the 2nd to the 5th of August in Toronto.

Vusimuzi Sibanda is captaining the side and Stephen Mangongo is the coach. Mangongo, who is also the assistant coach for the senior national team, will be assisted on the Zimbabwe XI tour by former Zimbabwe Test player Andrew Waller who will also double up as the team manager. Another former Zimbabwe international, Heath Streak, is the bowling coach.

"I am definitely one lucky man to be surrounded by this kind of technical staff. Bundu (Waller's nickname) is an astute coach. He has played the game at the highest level and is passionate about the team. Indeed, he is a superman and I am looking forward to working with him on this tour.

"Captain Vusi Sibanda has been around for a while. He has played for the senior team and is a player who knows his cricket. He has been the top runner in the past year in franchise cricket. He has over seven centuries and that in itself is a sign that he has what it takes. The team is well-balanced and we are spoilt for choice," said Mangongo.

Three players from the Zimbabwe squad that went to the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year have been drafted into the squad. They are Mountaineers off-spinner Natsai Mushangwe and medium fast bowlers Nathan Waller and Tendai Chatara. Mangongo believes these are the future stars of the game for Zimbabwe.

"It is good for Zimbabwe cricket that we are identifying a young crop that we can nurture. To me, that is a key element for cricket to survive. The youngsters in our current squad are very exciting. Tendai Chatara has shown a glimpse of genuine pace, Nathan Waller has a good physique and all the attributes of a fast bowler and Mushangwe is a brilliant turner of the ball - his domestics statistics speak for themselves," said the Zimbabwe XI coach.

Chamunorwa Chibhabha will be expected to do well as an opener on the tour. He is well-known for his explosive approach in shorter versions of the game and has the run scoring abilities to gift his team a secure start to an innings. The pairing of Chibhabha with the captain or Stuart Matsikenyeri has potential to set big scores against the lower-ranked teams on this tour.

Charles Coventry, Craig Ervine and Foster Mutizwa will form part of the depth of the middle order and should enjoy some of the flat batting tracks in Amstelveen.

Zimbabwe sits in fourth with 23 points in the tournament after winning a game and drawing one due to weather interruptions.

"Zimbabwe XI players are supposed to aim for places in the national team. They can only do that through performances that give top players more pressure. In doing so we create more options and the depth that we need as we approach our return to playing Test cricket," said Heath Streak as the team had its final practice session in Harare.

Bas Zuiderent has been named Netherlands captain for the limited-overs leg of Zimbabwe's visit. He was the vice-captain during the World Cricket League. Regular skipper Peter Borren was unavailable for selection. Nick
Statham will then take up the reins for the Intercontinental Cup game on Sunday.

The team: V. Sibanda (captain), F. Mutizwa, S. Williams, C. Ervine, C. Coventry, C. Chibhabha, R. Chakabva, S. Matsikenyeri, T. Chatara, E. Rainsford, K. Dabengwa, S. Masakadza, N. Mushangwe, N. Waller, T. Maruma, Stephen Mangongo (coach), Andrew Waller (assistant coach/manager), Heath Streak (bowling coach), Travor Wambe (physiotherapist) and Walter Karimanzira (fitness trainer).
[Source: ZC]

Netherlands Name Squads to Face Zimbabwe XI

Netherlands will face Zimbabwe XI in one ODI and an Intercontinental Cup fixture before the end of the month, and the Dutch have now named their squads for both matches:

ODI squad: Bas Zuiderent (captain), Adeel Raja, Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Tom Cooper, Steven de Bruin (wicketkeeper), Tom de Grooth, Maurits Jonkman, Bradley Kruger, Ruud Nijman, Pieter Seelaar, Nick Statham, Eric Szwarczynski

Intercontinental Cup squad: Nick Statham (captain), Adeel Raja, Wesley Barresi, Steven de Bruin (wicketkeeper), Tom de Grooth, Wilfred Diepeveen, Tom Heggelman, Maurits Jonkman, Ruud Nijman, Pieter Seelaar, Eric Szwarczynski, Berend Westdijk

Netherlands are using the fixtures as an opportunity to introduce some new young players to their side, while Zimbabwe are fielding a comparatively strong side. On paper that gives Zim the advantage, and they will need to win the match to keep up with Scotland at the top of the tournament table. Good luck to our guys.

Zimbabwe XI Squad Named for Netherlands, Canada Matches

Zimbabwe XI head off on their tour of the Netherland and Canada shortly - check the Fixtures page for match details - and ZC have named the 15-man touring sqaud for the trip. The side includes a decent mix of fringe national side players and up-and-coming talent, and - at least according to captain Vusi Sibanda, should be more than strong enough to deal with the expected opposition. That said, never discount home-field advantage when it comes to causing upsets - and these are Zimbabwe's first away matches in the Intercontinental Cup. The full squad is:

Vusi Sibanda (capt), Forster Mutizwa, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Charles Coventry, Chamu Chibabha, Regis Chakabva, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tendai Chatara, Ed Rainsford, Keith Dabengwa, Shingirai Masakadza, Natsai Mushangwe, Nathan Waller, Timycen Maruma.

Zimbabwe XI are currently 4th in the tournament table, 46 points behind leaders Scotland - however, Zimbabwe have only played two matches so far, at least two less than any of the sides above them. Two outright wins from this trip would leave them in second place with 63 points, and that has to be a realistic aim for the trip. Coaching staff for the trip will be 'A' team coach Stephen Mangongo and bowling coach Heath Streak.
[Source: ZC]

Remaining Inter-Continental Cup Fixtures Released

The remaining fixtures in the current Intercontinental Cup competition have been released, and you can find the full list on our Fixtures page. Zimbabwe's next match won't be until August 2010, when the side travel to Canada and Netherlands, while the final two matches against Ireland and Scotland are currently billed as "home" games - although I suspect they may well end up being played on neutral territory.

CWC Round-Up: 22 March

Netherlands pulled off a surprisingly thorough win against felow Associate side Scotland, although for both teams this was their final appearance of this World Cup. Going into the tournament, Scotland were the top-ranked of the 5 Associate sides (excluding Kenya, who appear on the main LG ICC rankings and not the Associate version), but they've underperformed in the West Indies and Netherland were pleased to take the opportunity to secure a win for themselves. Batting first, Scotland collapsed to 136 inside 35 overs, a total that Netherlands had no problems chasing down.

Canada weren't so lucky, although they did make New Zealand work during thier final group match. New Zealand batted first and raced their way to an impressive 363/5 from their 50 overs, including 101 from Lou Vincent. In reply, Canada got off to a speedy start thanks to John Davison, who until recently held the record for the fastest World Cup century - he seemed keen to repeat the feat here, and some lose bowling from the Kiwis, particularly Michael Mason, allowed Davison to cut loose. For a while it seemed Canada were on course for an unlikely win, but after Davison fell in the 10th over, the flow of runs dried to a trickle. Canada only just failed to bat out their 50 overs, but by then they were well off the total.
Netherlands beat Scotland by 8 wickets.
New Zealand beat Canada by 114 runs

CWC Round-Up: 18 March

No upsets today as the minnows stayed firmly in their places, but England did nothing to mark themselves as possible contenders after failing to convincingly see off Canada.

After being in the limelight for all the wrong reasons after Freddie Flintoff's drunken antics, England took to the field without the former vice-captain (dropped for disciplinary reasons), while Canada seemed determined not to be trampled underfoot. Compared to the scores other sides have run up against the weaker Associates, England's 279/6 didn't seem overly impressive, and Canada then went on to put up a fight with the bat - not enough to secure them the win, but enough to make sure they went out of the match without having disgraced themselves, and having raised a number of question marks over England's current form

No such luck for the hapless Dutch, however. Australia continued where South Africa left off, on their way to what was briefly a World Cup record winning margin of 229 runs. Australia's 358 was always out of reach of the Netherlands batsmen, and while they'd at least managed to bat out their overs against the Proteas, there was no such consolation here, thanks mainly to Hogg's 4/27.
Australia beat Netherlands by 229 runs
England beat Canada by 51 runs

Next up: India v Bermuda, and West Indies v Zimbabwe.

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