Scotland stuns the Netherlands to claim a second win in Desert T20

Scotland 148-7 (RD Berrington 38, RE van der Merwe 2 for 26) beat The Netherlands 141 (MJG Rippon 42, JH Davey 4-34) by 7 runs

Scotland moved into pole position in Group B of the Desert T20 thanks to a last-gasp victory over the Netherlands in the night match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Josh Davey took 4-34 as Scotland recovered from a precarious early position to complete a seven-run victory with successive run-outs in the final over.
Captain Kyle Coetzer was quick to praise his side’s performance as he reflected on a second tournament win.

“The bowlers showed good temperament, they really held it together,” he said. “The fielding at the crucial moments, too, really switched on.

“We wanted them to try and hit over our fielders. There were a couple of occasions where they were just starting to fall behind the rate and we knew that by bowling the ball into the pitch with less pace they were going to have to hit it cleanly to get it over the field. Those are the chances you take because they could also hit it out the park, but our bowlers were able to execute their skills brilliantly at that stage.

“It was a great game of cricket,” he added. “Those are the special games that you want to be a part of and hopefully be in the winning side. We were fortunate that today we were.”

In each of the evening matches played previously it had been the chasing side that had proved successful, and with dew on the ball also likely to become a factor as the game progressed Dutch captain Peter Borren’s decision to invite Scotland to bat first came as little surprise.

It was a call which brought his side immediate reward. After George Munsey (4) fell to Roelof van der Merwe, bowled by the fourth ball of the innings, the pace of Roelof van Meekeren (2-30) quickly accounted for both Coetzer (4) and Matthew Cross (4) and left Scotland, at 17-3, surveying the wreckage of their top order at the end of the Powerplay.

The departure of Cross renewed the partnership of form-men Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod, however, and fresh from their record-breaking exploits against Hong Kong the two set about rebuilding, taking the innings on to 65-3 after eleven. Both were to fall in quick succession, however; first MacLeod (20) in unusual circumstances, his attempted cut shot dislodging the bails on the follow-through, and then Berrington next over, LBW to van der Merwe, on his way to 2-26.

Any Dutch thoughts of a cheap capitulation, however, were quickly dispelled by some quick-fire scoring from the Scotland lower order. Both Con de Lange (22) and Safyaan Sharif (20*) struck maximums as a breathless, and ultimately telling, final five overs brought 66 runs and lifted Scotland to a respectable – and, so it was to prove, defendable - total.

That the Dutch intended to chase aggressively, though, was quickly apparent as both Ben Cooper and Michael Rippon came out swinging, plundering 15 from Brad Wheal’s first over and then going one better when Davey joined the attack. The Somerset seamer was to be rewarded with a double breakthrough in the sixth, however, as first Cooper (24) fell to a good running catch from Sharif before Tobias Visee (0), having survived a confident LBW shout, was trapped in front next ball.

Scotland began to grow in confidence and with Coetzer turned to spin, both Con de Lange (2-17) and Mark Watt (0-18) again keeping things tight, the Netherlands run rate was checked considerably. The departure in successive overs of Borren (15) and then Rippon (42) heralded a nip-and-tuck finale as the required runs grew smaller against a counterpoint of regularly falling wickets.

Davey picked up his third and fourth scalps, Max O’Dowd (11) pulling to MacLeod at midwicket before Pieter Seelaar (12) gave Sharif his second catch of the night at extra cover. With ten required from the final over the successive run-outs of Ahsan Malik and Paul van Meekeren sealed a memorable night for the Scots.

“I’m very proud of the guys [and the way that they kept] faith in their skills,” said Head Coach Grant Bradburn later. “We’re well aware of the stats that when you lose three in the Powerplay you are unlikely to win a game, so it was special to see the guys fight and hold their nerve and find a way to get over the line.

“[There were lots of] contributions throughout the order and that’s hugely pleasing for us because it’s a clear example of what we talk about and what we train for in terms of trusting each other and going out there to express ourselves.”

A semi-final spot is not yet guaranteed, but Scotland will prepare for Thursday’s final pool game against Oman in the knowledge that they are in the box seat for qualification from Group B. They will know, equally, that their resilience and coolness under pressure is sure to be noted by the other teams in the tournament, too.

UPCOMING FIXTURE (GMT): 19 January – Oman v Scotland (15.00)