Bulawayo: Andy Flower and Henry Olonga's spirit of rebellion spread to the Queens Sports Club crowd on Friday as Zimbabwe defeated the Netherlands by 99 runs to keep its World Cup dream alive. After making 301 for eight, the Dutch crawled to 202 for nine off their 50 overs but the Group 'A' game was overshadowed by the controversy over the two players' ongoing anti-Robert Mugabe protest.
First, it was claimed that the Zimbabwe selectors had insisted on playing an unfit Douglas Hondo rather than reverting to obvious replacement Olonga as a continuing punishment for his black armband protest against the regime. Then, as the Dutch began their reply, Flower left the field injured to be replaced by Olonga, serving as 12th man. Both men were wearing heavy, thick white armbands to extend their protest having been warned to desist with the black arm and wristbands by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU).
Olonga's arrival was greeted with a huge roar from the 3,000-strong crowd before two protest banners were unfurled - one saying 'Mugabe equals Hitler' and the other claiming 'Zimbabwe Needs Justice.' The incidents deflected attention from the Dutch run chase which got off to a solid start as Feiko Kloppenburg and Edgar Schiferli put on 41 runs in the first 11 overs. But then Bas Zuiderent was run out after a brilliant piece of fielding by Dion Ebrahim for 15 while leg spinner Brian Murphy applied the brakes taking three for 44 from his 10 overs. His wickets included danger man Tim de Leede for one and Luuk van Troost who made 26 off 25 balls while Olonga refused to be left out of the action when he took a catch in the deep to dismiss Henk Mol. Daan van Bunge top-scored for the Dutch with 37.
Earlier, Andy Flower smashed 71 off 72 balls while Andy Blignaut followed up his 54 against Australia with another quick fire 58 off 38 balls. Skipper Heath Streak clattered 44 off 22 before being dismissed off the last ball. Kloppenburg took two for 40 off his 10 overs, helped by a fine diving catch by Zuiderent in the deep to dismiss Guy Whittall for 30 and reduce the home side to 135 for three in the 30th over.
The medium-pacer also clean-bowled Mark Vermeulen, who had replaced the injured Grant Flower, for 27 while Jacob Esmeijer caught Andy Flower off Edgar Schiferli in the 35th over just as the left-hander was threatening to cut loose. Blignaut upped the scoring rate hitting seven boundaries before he was caught by Kloppenburg off Schiferli. But Streak and Ebrahim hit valuable late runs against a Dutch side who used seven bowlers. Copyright AFP 2001