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Flower sets up Zimbabwe victory
February 28, 2003 21:52 IST
Scorecard | Analysis
Andy Flower put his troubles behind him by hitting a brisk 71 at Queens Sports Club on Friday, setting up a 99-run win for Zimbabwe over the Netherlands in their World Cup Group A match.
The left-handed Flower, who has been criticised by cricketing authorities for his on-field protests against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, only passed a fitness test on a groin strain 24 hours before the game.
But his controlled 72-ball knock, backed by a whirlwind 58 from Andy Blignaut and a late blast by captain Heath Streak, guided Zimbabwe to 301 for eight from their 50 overs to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Super Sixes.
The target was always going to be too stiff for the Dutch part-timers, despite a positive approach by their openers that was maintained by Luuk van Troost (26 off 25 balls), Daan van Bunge (37) and skipper Roland Lefebvre (30).
Flower, who wore a white wristband symbolising peace for the second game in a row, might have gone for four in the 13th over, but van Bunge at slip could not hold on to a sharp chance to his left off seamer Tim de Leede.
Mark Vermeulen and Flower shared in a second-wicket stand of 58 before Vermeulen dragged a wide delivery from seamer Feiko Kloppenburg on to his stumps to be bowled for 27.
Guy Whittall helped Flower add a further 53 for the third wicket before hoisting a ball from Kloppenburg to mid-wicket, where Zuiderent made good ground to scoop the catch centimetres above the turf.
Opening bowler Edgar Schiferli returned to remove Flower, whose loose drive went straight to backward point in the 35th over.
Flower faced 72 balls and hit seven fours but, after reaching his second fifty of the tournament, he seemed hampered by his groin problem.
Blignaut's aggressive approach, in which he mixed booming drives and neat deflections behind square with some searing pulls, put the Dutch under pressure as the run-rate climbed.
The left hander plundered 80 runs from 64 balls for the fifth wicket with Dion Ebrahim before he played an awkward legside stroke to Schiferli and was caught at leg gully in the 45th over.
Blignaut faced 38 balls and hit seven fours.
Ebrahim was dismissed for 32, bowled by De Leede, but Streak took Zimbabwe past 300 with six fours and six in a 22-ball 44 before being caught in the deep off the last ball of the innings.
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