AN unbeaten 85-run partnership for the fifth wicket by Modester Mupachikwa and Josephine Nkomo was not enough as Zimbabwe suffered a 14-run defeat against the Netherlands to bow out of the final qualifiers for the 2024 ICC Women T20 World Cup.

Wicket-keeper and opener Mupachikwa (44 balls) and Nkomo (41 balls) were both unbeaten on 39 as Zimbabwe made 121/4 off their 20 overs.

They were chasing a victory target of 136 after the Netherlands had scored 135/6 after choosing to bat.

For the Netherlands, the top-scorer Robine Rijke was also unbeaten on 39 but she had a much better strike rate as she got the runs off just 25 balls.

Tight death bowling by the Dutch ruined what would have been a match-winning partnership with only five runs coming from the final over in which Zimbabwe needed 20 runs to win the match.

It was a third defeat in four matches for the Lady Chevrons, who needed three wins to reach the semi-finals from Group B and now exit with just two points from a possible 10.

The disastrous campaign started with a shock defeat against lightweights, Venuatu, while a comfortable victory overs hosts UAE in the second game seemed to revive hope but back-to-back defeats against Ireland and the Dutch completed the misery.

Ireland and the Netherlands will now progress from Group B and Zimbabwe’s consolation will be avoiding bottom-place finish.

The best bowling performance of the match came from the Lady Chevrons’ Fransisca Chipare whose four overs yielded two wickets for 27 runs.

Opting to bat first, Netherlands lost key batter Iris Zwilling early to a direct-hit at the non-striker’s end, but Sterre Kalis and Babette de Leede rebuilt with a watchful stand.

The partnership began slowly as Netherlands ambled along to 29 in the first six overs.

Kalis opened up with back-to-back fours off Josephine Nkomo and looked in ominous touch.

Sharne Mayers was brought into the attack in the 13th over and struck off her first delivery when she cleaned up de Leede for 37 to break the stand. — Zimpapers Sport/ICC.

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