Cricket One Day International 23 March 2023
Zimbabwe vs Netherlands - Match Preview
The Netherlands got off to an outstanding start in this three-match bilateral ODI series against hosts Zimbabwe, taking a 1-0 lead with a three-wicket win in a nail-biter in Harare on Tuesday. That win snapped a 15-match losing streak in ODIs whilst also extending their overall H2H lead to 3-1. However, on the evidence of this closely fought contest, there was little pitting the two sides, therefore it is unlikely the home nation should be too disheartened and will be hopeful of levelling the series which continues in Harare on Thursday.
Zimbabwe got off to a very poor start and was chasing the match from the outset. Being asked to bat first, after 20.4 overs they found themselves seven down with a paltry 97 runs on the board, with their top six batters all back in the shed having aggregated just 59 of those runs. Thankfully for the Chevrons and their faithful, keeper-batter Clive Madande spared their blushes by bringing up his maiden ODI fifty when he produced excellent innings of 74 off 98 balls to help his team post a defendable albeit under-par 249 all out. With the ball, three wickets from southpaw spinner Wellington Masakadza (3/36) and a brace from left-arm seamer Richard Ngarava (2/44) made sure the visitors didn’t have things all their own way by taking the match down to the penultimate ball.
This defeat will have no doubt dented the confidence of the home side who have now lost their second match from their last four completed matches after inspirational wins over the mighty Australians and more recently, against Ireland in their recent 1-1 (1xNR) drawn series back in January. They now need a win on Thursday to stay in the series and avoid an eleventh series defeat from their last 13 (D2).
In their innings, the Netherlands’ top order also struggled against the new ball, finding themselves 64/5 after 20.3 overs. But just as Madande did for Zimbabwe, Teja Nidamanuru rescued the visitors. He came in at number seven and helped see his team over the line with a magnificent unbeaten 110* from 96 balls. Not only was it his maiden ODI century, but also his highest-ever professional score. In a recent interview, veteran of 30 ODIs Tom Cooper stated there was “not much riding on these games in the sense of qualification, but it’s another chance for what is a young team to grow as cricketers and start believing that all their hard work is paying off”. Well it certainly has for Nidamanuru!
The Netherlands will have been overjoyed with Tuesday’s result, for not only have they had to contend with having little match practice, having not played an ODI since August 2022, but they have also had to adjust to the change of personnel off-field. Regular head coach Ryan Cook, who has left to join Sunrisers Hyderabad for the forthcoming IPL competition, handed the reins over to Ryan van Niekerk who is being assisted by Russell Domingo and Heino Kuhn.
📋 Players to watch: Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza’s strike rate of 84.42 across 127 matches is the best of all current batters, and with the ball, he is economical of all current bowlers, going at just 4.92rpo. Netherlands’ top order batter Colin Ackermann, who has an FC highest score of 277*, registered his second ODI half-century in the first match (50) in what was only his fourth ODI innings.
⚡ Stat attack: Eight of the last 11 completed ODIs at this venue were won by the chasing side.
- The historical average first innings score at this venue is 230, which increases to 259 over the last eight completed ODIs.
- Zimbabwe have lost seven of their last nine completed ODIs under Craig Ervine’s captaincy. Ervine's last seven ODI innings as captain have been less than inspirational: 4, 11*, 38, 0, 32, 30, 0.
- Only two players have scored more runs at this venue than Sikandar Raza’s 1,507. Three of his last eight completed ODI innings have been centuries, while five of the other six have been 25 or fewer runs.
- Zimbabwe's opening partnership has failed to make 30+ runs in all 13 ODIs played in Harare since the start of 2022.
- The Netherlands have a W12, L9 win-loss record in ODIs they played in Africa.
- Wessly Madhevere failed to reach 20 runs in 12 of his 13 home ODIs (average 11.3).
- Fred Klaasen has taken 2+ wickets in 11 of his 15 ODIs for the Netherlands, whilst Paul van Meekeren picked exactly two wickets in four of his last five ODIs.
Bangladesh vs Ireland - Match Preview
The three-match ODI series between Bangladesh and Ireland concludes in Sylhet on Thursday with another day-night fixture that could be affected by thunderstorms. Although the series is still alive, Bangladesh has completely outplayed Ireland in the one-and-a-half games fans have seen so far. They won the opening match by 183 runs and have broken their highest ODI team total record in successive games. Humid conditions with thunderstorms in the area are forecast during this match which Ireland must win to level the series 1-1.
The hosts scored at a run rate of 6.98 in the second ODI on Monday as they posted 349-6 before the rain arrived and no further play was possible. Although it is impossible to know exactly how the match would have played out, with Bangladesh’s home ODI record of only five defeats (2 vs England, 1 vs India, Sri Lanka & Afghanistan) over the last five years, it is fair to say that Ireland faced an uphill task.
Bangladesh have posted scores of 338-8 and 349-6 in this series so far with four half-centuries and one hundred. Of the top six in the batting line-up, only captain Tamim Iqbal has not accumulated greater than 90 runs across the two matches. Keeper-batter, Mushfiqur Rahim, who hit Bangladesh’s quickest ODI century (60 balls) on Monday, is the leading run-scorer in the series with 144. Towhid Hridoy, who made his debut in this format in the first ODI on Saturday, is in second place three runs behind.
Mustafizur Rahman was rested from the line-up in the second ODI with Hasan Mahmud coming into the side. However, with none of the bowlers delivering one ball on Monday, and with Mustafizur’s form, not the best, Mahmud may well keep his place for this final game. Ebadot Hossain brings his strike rate of 10.2 from the first ODI into this match and, alongside Taskin Ahmed in these conditions, forms a very dangerous pace attack.
Ireland gave a debut to 20-year-old left-arm spinner Matthew Humphreys on Monday but it was an expensive introduction to international cricket with his seven overs costing 59 runs and yielding no wickets or maidens. However, Humphreys’ economy rate of 8.42 was not an outlier with Curtis Camper's ten overs costing 73 runs, Andy McBrine’s nine overs conceding 68 and Harry tector's four overs going for 28.
Graham Hume has been the standout bowler in the Irish attack and he followed up his figures of 4-60 in the first ODI with 3-58 in the second. He is the only opposition player to take a four-wicket haul in an ODI in Sylhet and needs to dismiss only one batter in this match to go level with Mohammad Saifuddin as the leading ODI wicket-taker at this venue. Hume went wicketless in his ODI debut back in July 2022 but has since picked up 11 wickets at an average of 21.00 from five games.
With the bat, Ireland has a poor record in this country in this format. Their total of 155 from 30.5 overs in the first ODI was their lowest total but at their highest run rate (5.02). Across five innings, they have breached 200 only once with all their totals in the range of 155 - 214. There will be plenty of pressure on Paul Stirling, who has hit 13 ODI centuries across his career, and Harry Tector, who averages 69.38 from his last 17 ODI innings, to make significant contributions.
With a head-to-head lead of 8-2 in this format, Bangladesh will be confident of securing the series with another victory. At home, they have only once failed to bowl Ireland out and have been bowled out themselves only once by Ireland from six innings.
📋 Players to watch: Najmul Hossain Shanto is one of the most in-form players in Bangladesh cricket at the moment. He hit 73 runs from 77 balls in the second ODI to follow up his previous scores of 58, 53, 51, 46* and 47* against England in the ODI and T20I series earlier in the month. Prior to the internationals, he made 64 runs from 45 balls for Sylhet Strikers in the final of the Bangladesh Premier League.
Graham Hume is the leading wicket-taker in the series and shares the top spot with Taskin Ahmed for the highest number of maidens (2). He has taken two more wickets than the rest of the Irish bowling attack combined and had the best economy rate in his side in the second ODI with the second-best in the first game.
⚡ Stat attack: Graham Hume has bowled 12 balls to Shakib Al Hasan and dismissed him twice in the series.
- Tamim Iqbal went past 15,000 international runs in the second ODI, the first Bangladesh player to do so.
- Curtis Campher has conceded 14 runs from 17 balls against Litton Das and dismissed him twice in the series.
- Of Bangladesh’s 12 highest ODI totals, five of them have come in Sylhet.
- Litton Das, Towhid Hridoy and Mushfiqur Rahim have all hit sixes in both matches of the series.
- Harry Tector has bowled 10 wicketless overs across the series conceding 73 runs.
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