France surprise Dutch A side in Monday rematch
France completed their two-match visit to The Netherlands on Monday with an impressive six-wicket victory over a Netherlands A side.
After having lost a match reduced by rain to 35 overs a side on Saturday, bowled out for 138 chasing a Dutch total of 158 for nine, the French seemed to be again in trouble when Rifaiz Bakas and Lesley Stokkers put together an opening stand of 110 for the home side.
The breakthrough came in the 30th over when Stokkers, having just reached his fifty, was bowled attempting to sweep Johnny Houghton; his 50 came off 99 balls, and included a single four.
Bob Entrop was run out after a mid-pitch mix-up 15 runs later, and then Bakas, with the score on 139, hit out at Houghton and was caught for 61, made from 95 balls with eight boundaries.
That was the trigger for a spectacular collapse, the last seven wickets falling for 28 runs.
Maarten van Ierschot started well before he became Houghton's third victim, and thereafter only Atse Buurman managed double figures, batting sensibly for a not-out 22 as wickets tumbled at the other end.
Tahir Mohamed was the chief architect of the collapse, taking three wickets in four balls to finish with four for 23, while Houghton took three for 49.
Arun Ayyavooraju anchored the French response, putting on 48 for the first wicket with Ramesh Sithambaranathan before Mohsin Ghaznavi came into the attack and removed the latter in his first over.
Houghton made 19 before holing out to Stokkers off the bowling of Pieter Seelaar, but then Shahid Malik took the Dutch spinners by the scruff of the neck, making 35 out of a partnership of 47 for the third wicket.
Ayyavooraju continued in partnership with skipper Waseem Bhatti until the total reached 167, passing his half-century and making 62 before he was bowled by Jelte Schoonheim, having faced 111 balls. Bhatti remained to the end, finishing on 32 not out as the French reached their target in the 40th over.
The French will be encouraged by this work-out as they prepare for the European Division 2 championships in Guernsey next month, while for the Dutch, getting ready for the inaugural European A team tournament, there are plenty of issues to be addressed in both batting and bowling.