Dutch attack chokes off the Scottish challenge
Scotland’s clash with The Netherlands in Rotterdam was a match of fluctuating fortunes, but the home side eventually prevailed by 11 runs as the Scottish run chase fell short in gloomy conditions.
It was a fine effort by the Dutch, who did well to defend a modest total of 188 for seven after they had again failed to capitalise fully on a good start from Rifaiz Bakas and Steven de Bruin.
Put in to bat on another dank morning favourable to seam bowling, The Netherlands reached 60 before Ritchie Berrington, who had relieved Sean Weeraratna in the attack, induced De Bruin to edge his fourth ball to keeper Simon Smith.
Stijn Allema did not stay long before he was run out, and then Bakas, who had made his way steadily to 48, punishing the loose ball and batting very sensibly, perished the same way looking for an impossible single. He had faced 97 balls and hit four boundaries.
Skipper Peter Borren shaped as if intent on repeating yesterday’s fine innings, and after the rapid departure of Daan van Everdingen, trapped leg-before by Zeeshan Bashir, he and Geert Maarten Mol set about engineering a recovery.
Their partnership ended, however, when Borren, on 26, came down the wicket to Majid Haq, missed the ball, and was adjudged to have been stumped by Smith. That made it 126 for five with twelve overs left, and worse was to follow when Mol was bowled round his legs by Moneeb Iqbal.
Ruud Nijman and Jeroen Brand got the total up to 149 in the 45th over with some positive play against the Scottish spinners, but then Nijman mistimed a drive and was well caught by Omer Hussain off Bashir.
The Scots had had the better of the middle and latter part of the innings, but The Netherlands’ fortunes were restored by an enormously valuable, unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 39 between Brand and Graeme Davey, which got the total up to a defendable level.
Borren needed his bowlers to perform well, and Nijman and Davey responded by turning in superb opening spells, left-armer Davey taking one for 22 in seven overs and Nijman two for 10 in eight.
They were given a great start by the run-out of Weeraratna in the second over, but the pressure they created was so effective that by the time they were rested Scotland found themselves on 34 for four.
But opener Ryan Flannigan stood firm among the carnage, and he and Giles Holmes put on 56 for the fifth wicket, gradually working their side back into the game.
The scoring-rate was painfully slow, however, and by the time Holmes was trapped leg-before by Mol with the total on 87 Scotland still needed 102 to win off eighteen overs.
Majid Haq joined Flannigan, and they added another 25 in seven overs. Still the asking-rate was creeping upwards, and the game swung the Dutch way when Flannigan, who had just reached a battling half-century, was beaten by a direct hit from Mohammed Kashif while attempting a quick single.
72 were needed off the last ten overs, and Haq and Iqbal continued the battle, staying below the asking-rate but steadily closing the gap.
The Dutch did not panic, though, the fielding giving the bowlers admirable support, and when Davey returned he conceded only seven runs in his final three overs to finish with one for 29.
Scotland now needed nine an over, and when Iqbal holed out to Kashif at long off in the 48th over the pressure continued to mount. Smith was run out in the following over, the result of an unfortunate slip by Haq, and Borren began his final over with the Scots requiring 22.
It was an impossible task, and although Haq drove him straight for four it was the only boundary – and only the fifth of the innings – and Scotland could only manage ten.