Zimbabwe cricket captain Craig Ervine feels poor fielding cost the team dearly during their loss by three wickets against Netherlands in a topsy-turvy opening ODI encounter at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
This is in spite of the fact that the top and middle-order batsmen failed to make any meaningful contributions to the team’s total only for wicketkeeper Clive Madande’s maiden half-century and some crucial runs from tail-enders to rescue the innings.
The Chevron were sent in to bat first after losing the toss and we’re at one point reeling at 98 for seven before Madande’s 74-run knock helped Zimbabwe get to 250.
Wellington Masakadza (40) and Richard Ngarava (35) achieved career-best best scores to make important contributions and bring Zimbabwe back into the game.
But Teja Nidamanuru struck a maiden ton finishing with an in beaten 110 runs as the visitors staged their own resurrection from 64 for 5 to cross the line with a ball to spare.
Collin Ackerman also hit a gutsy 50 off 72 balls in Netherlands’ successful run chase as the European side took a 1 – 0 going into the second ODI set for Thursday at the same venue.
Ervine believes the match was lost in the way the team fielded.
“I thought 250 was enough for our bowling attack to defend. You know at one stage it looked we were not even going to get 150 so to get up to 250 I gave us a lot of confidence to get out there and defend that. Unfortunately our fielding today let us down,” Ervine said during the post-match press conference.
“I thought Netherlands really utilized those early conditions well and put us under pressure but having said that I think with us getting 250 I felt like our bowling attack was good enough to defend that.
“The fielding today certainly let us down you know we dropped a few catches which were important catches. Unfortunately Welly (Masakadza) is a guy that you hardly ever see drop catches he has taken some absolute blinders but everybody is human and it happens.
“We just have to come out on Thursday with a lot more energy in the field and not look like we are sluggish. we have to keep up those standards the whole way through,” he said.
Masakadza dropped Netherlands’ star batsman Nidamanuru twice in successive balls in the 45th over off the bowling of Sikandar Raza.
There were also one too many midfields during the Netherlands innings although 250 is a gettable target in the format.
The ongoing ODI series is part of the ICC World Cup Super League between two of the bottom teams who can no longer qualify automatically for the global competition.
Netherlands who are anchoring the Super League table closed the gap between them and Zimbabwe to just 10 points with two matches remaining.
The two sides meet in the second ODI on Thursday.