A Dutch side finally firing on all cylinders blazed past a hapless Uganda to claim promotion the the World Cricket League Championship and a spot in the finals here Tomorrow. After knocking over an occasionally cooperative Ugandan line-up for just 79 runs, Ahasan Malik claiming 5 for 7, the Ducth top order ticked off the total in just 6.3 overs.
Peter Borren continued his lucky streak at the toss and elected to bowl, and didn't have to wait long for reward. Following a fine looking flat-pulled four, Roger Mukasa found his stumps upended by Mudassar Bukhari on the fifth ball of the innings. Mukasa's boundary would be the last runs off the bat for another five overs, by which time another three wickets had fallen, Viv Kingma striking twice in his first over to remove former Northerns teammates Ambram Ndhlovu and Mpho Selowa, and Borren taking a ripper at first slips to give Bukhari his second and send Ssebanja on his way.
Only some occasionally wayward bowling from the Dutch kept the scoreboard ticking, the 22 extras conceded during Uganda's innings the most substantial contribution to the total. Brian Masaba's 17 was the best score from a batsman, and his partnership of 38 with Arthur Kyobe provided the only real resistance to the Dutch onslaught.
The pair were to become Malik's first victims however, holing out on consecutive deliveries in the 12th over. Thereafter it was one way traffic, Malik bowling three batsmen through the gate with near-identical deliveries, his five wickets interrupted only by Micahel Rippon getting into the action to have Patrick Ochan caught behind. Skipper Frank Nsubuga was the last man to play outside a straight one from Malik, and in 23.4 overs Uganda had managed to score just 57 runs, with 22 extras bringing the target to 80.
Given the net run rate situation, the Dutch would need to make the target in well under ten overs to guarantee a Kenyan win over Napal would see them through. Inside eight is the target they set themselves as they went out, inside seven is what they did. Borren promoted himself to open along with Stephan Myburgh, a combination that will be familiar to T20 fans, and the Sylhet gambit payed off with a 38 run opening stand off just 20 balls. Spectators had to wait six balls for the first boundary, a straight six for Myburgh off Ochan, but wouldn't have to wait as long again as the pair put the Ugandan bowling to the sword.
Ochan and Ssebanja bowled unchanged throughout the 6.3 over innings, and though a mix of slower bouncers and variations bought a few dot balls and three wickets, there was no containing the Dutch top five. Myburgh was the first to go, a Ssebanja delivery skidding under a cross batted heave to find the stumps, but the scoring only accelerated. Wesley Barresi smashed a 7 ball 20 before holing out off of Ochan, and Borren went the next ball having taken 16 balls to reach 29 in an innings that included four sixes and did some damage in the car park.
Ben Cooper and Mudassar Bukhari were left to finish things off, and Bukhari smashed his first two deliveries for six and four to take them to the brink. The end was a little anticlimactic, the pair taking five more balls for the last three runs, Ochan eventually pushing them over the line with an errant bouncer.
The 7 wicket win, completed by 11.30am in a total of just 30.1 overs, meant the Dutch had done all they could to win through, with any Kenyan win across the road at Affies enough to see them pass Nepal. In the event, Rakep Patel's men did not let them down, and he and Irfan Karim would seal Dutch promotion that afternoon, their century partnership sealing a win 5 wicket win for Kenya to cheers from a sizeable Dutch contingent.
It's been a tough tournament for the Netherlands, and certainly they would have wanted to seal promotion in rather more emphatic style, though after the performances against Nepal and Namibia they'll happily take it any way they can get it. Yet despite their inconsistency the Dutch have shown the quality that had them as favourites going in and whatever teamtalk coach Anton Roux delivered after the Namibia calamity has evidently had some effect - as in their last two matches the Dutch have simply looked a class apart. Promotion secure, the pressure's lower for the final against Namibia tomorrow, but on a roll with revenge on the mind, the Dutch are looking like favourites again.