The final two teams for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in October were confirmed after Zimbabwe and Netherlands won their respective semifinals of the ongoing qualifying tournament.
Zimbabwe saw off Papua New Guinea while the Netherlands took care of the United States of America to reach the T20 World Cup.
PNG was trying to qualify for a second straight T20 World Cup while the USA came mightily close to earning their first trip to cricket’s pinnacle tournament.
In a game with everything on the line, Zimbabwe survived a scare to beat PNG by 27 runs.
Important contributions by their batters, including Wessly Madhevere’s top score of 42, took them to an imposing total of 199-5 at the Queens Sports Club.
In reply, PNG failed to indicate any serious threat to the target until Tony Ura’s 65 from 35 balls courtesy of four boundaries and five sixes made things interesting.
But after Ura’s dismissal at the hands of Sean Williams PNG fell into a slump once again. Needing 31 runs off the last over of Richard Ngarava they managed to score only three to ultimately fall short by 27 runs to end their dream of reaching the World Cup.
Zimbabwe will play in their sixth T20 World Cup after missing out last year due to a suspension.
At the same time across town at Bulawayo Athletic Club, team USA failed to create history by reaching their maiden major tournament.
Defeat to Zimbabwe on Thursday in its last group match meant they had to face tougher opposition in the Dutch in the semifinal and it showed in the final scorecard.
Bowled out for 138 runs they could not turn things around with the ball, falling to a seven-wicket defeat.
Batting all-rounder Bas de Leede almost single-handedly won his side the game, taking two wickets and scoring 91 not out from 67 balls.
As a result, the Netherlands will play in their 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.