BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe and the Netherlands advanced to the T20 World Cup in October after they won their semifinals at the qualifying tournament on Friday.
They ruined the hopes of Papua New Guinea and the United States. PNG was trying to qualify for a second straight T20 World Cup. The U.S. was trying to reach its first cricket World Cup.
Zimbabwe surviving a huge scare to beat PNG by 27 runs.
Zimbabwe had what looked like an imposing total 199-5 at the Queens Sports Club. But it labored to contain PNG, especially man-of-the-match Tony Ura, who hit 65 from 35 balls, cracking four boundaries and five sixes.
Ura’s dismissal by the spin of Sean Williams, marked the turning point as Zimbabwe. PNG needed 31 off the last over bowled by seamer Richard Ngarava and scored only three. PNG finished on 172-8.
Zimbabwe will play in a sixth T20 World Cup after missing last year because of a suspension.
“It’s exciting to have qualified for the World Cup, but obviously we can’t celebrate as yet as we have got a final to play on Sunday,” Williams said. “But I’m sure on Sunday evening the celebrations will begin.”
At the same time across town at Bulawayo Athletic Club, the Americans couldn’t make history.
Defeat to Zimbabwe on Thursday in its last group match meant the U.S. had to face the tough Dutch in the semifinals. The semifinal was one-sided as the U.S. was bowled out for 138 runs in the last over and the Dutch won by seven wickets with an over to spare.
Fast bowler Bas de Leede took two wickets and was 91 not out from 67 balls. Paul Meekeren also took two wickets. The Netherlands will play in a fourth successive T20 World Cup.
The Dutch and Zimbabwe meet in the final on Sunday in a match that will decide the overall winner of the T20 World Cup Qualifier B tournament.