Rippon and Borren see Dutch to safety against Kenya
Bertus de Jong
A captain's knock of 86 not-out from Peter Borren together with an excellent all-round performance from Michael Rippon saw the Netherlands claim an opening win against Kenya in Round 6 of the World Cricket League Championship and become the first Associate team to secure a berth at the 2018 World Cup Qualifier - going three points clear at the top of the table.
Coming together with the match in the balance, the Dutch reduced to 98-4 after 25 overs in pursuit of a target of 227, Borren and Rippon put on an unbroken 129-run stand for the 5th wicket to see the tourists home with 8 balls to spare.
The Netherlands top three had all got starts, Wesley Barresi, Stephan Myburgh and Ben Cooper all making it into the 20s before departing, but after Barresi and Myburgh fell in successive overs to Nelson Odhiambo and Shem Ngoche the runs began to dry up. The pressure would get to Cooper and Roelof van der Merwe, trapped LBW by debutant Pushpak Kerai and caught off Ngoche respectively as the hosts fought their way back into the game.
Borren and Rippon were happy to wait out the middle overs however, taking the spinners for ones and twos even as the asking rate began to climb, before accelerating towards the death, finishing unbeaten on 86 off 98 and 55 off 74 respectively.
Earlier Rippon's return of 3-30 in ten overs had been crucial in restricting the hosts to 226-7 from their 50 overs. After Vivian Kingma and Timm van der Gugten had put the Kenyans on the back foot with the new ball, picking up the wickets of openers Irfan Karim and Alex Obanda as the hosts struggled to get going - the first seven overs yielding just 18 runs.
Dihren Gondaria led something of a fightback from number three, striking a brisk half-century in an 81-run partnership with skipper Rakep Patel, but Rippon took three wickets in succession to remove the pair together with Gurdeep Singh, to put the Dutch on top again with the total at 117-5 after 30.
Collins Obuya and Nelson Odhiambo dug in to rebuild, with the former hitting out aggressively late in the innings to take Kenya past the 200-mark, eventually falling in the final over, caught behind off Pieter Seelaar for a 77-ball 72 which included all four of the sixes to be struck in the match. Odhiambo had gone the previous previous over, becoming van der Gugten's second scalp having made 39.