Spectacular conclusion in Benoni
Today in Benoni, Canada and The Netherlands - tied on 9 points atop the table in the tri-series - are playing their final match. Should The Netherlands win this match, they would clinch the title. Canada need a win, coupled with some help from Bermuda tomorrow in order to win. The Netherlands won the toss, and put Canada in to bat first.
It was the same story Canadian batsmen have seen too many times in recent history. Many batsmen making a good start, but none of them able to follow through and put up a truly great score. Once again, nobody was able to make a 50, and with wickets falling regularly Canada only managed to make 223 runs for 8 wickets from their allotted 50 overs. The top scorers were Desmond Chumney who made 44 before being run out by Ryan ten Doeschate, and Abdool Samad whose promising 44 was snuffed out by an lbw off Stelling. The pick of the bowlers was Tim de Leede, who took 2 wickets for 29 runs.
The lunch break featured a fireworks show of the natural variety - a spectacular, large thunderstorm passed over the ground but, luckily, didn't drop too much of the wet stuff. In any case, around 30 minutes were lost to the rain, and The Netherlands were set a revised target of 205 runs to win from a maximum 42 overs.
Canada's dynamic duo of Bhatti and Osinde were their usual stingy selves, keeping the Dutch batsmen on the defensive most of the time. Osinde grabbed two early wickets, surrendering just 23 runs from 7 overs thus far. Bhatti gave up 25 runs, and in his final over took two wickets, including the prized scalp of Ryan ten Doeschate, who had made a 38 off just 40 balls.
Since the end of the opening spells from Osinde and Bhatti, the Dutch have looked much better and the Canadian bowlers have struggled mightily. Van Troost and van Bunge built a solid 50 run partnership, before van Troost was removed by Sunil Dhaniram, leaving The Netherlands at 121 for 5 after 28 overs. Dhaniram went on to catch Borren lbw, and finished his 9 over allotment with figures of 2-32.
Kevin Sandher just took a huge wicket. Van Bunge went for the big one, and just misplayed it slightly. Umar Bhatti came in from extra cover and took the catch safely, taking away The Netherlands' best chance to win this match.
In the end, though Stelling brought The Netherlands back and carried them to the slimmest of victories. His massive 6 in the penultimate over was the biggest shot, and when Henry Osinde conceded the winning boundary, the victory was secured with just 2 balls to be bowled. A brilliant match with a wonderful conclusion - this is truly what cricket is all about!