A strong KNCB XI comprising many of the most talented young Dutch cricketers overpowered Belgium in Amstelveen on Saturday, the bowling attack in particular showing to advantage as the home side secured a comfortable 142-run victory.

In typical early-season conditions honours were about even at the innings break, and the Belgians could be reasonably content at that stage with having restricted the KNCB XI to a total of 206 for seven.

That the Dutch batsmen managed to set that target was largely due to contrasting innings by two of the Zulfiqar triplets: opener Asad, whose dogged 143-ball 60 was a model of persistence, and Sikander, who raised the tempo splendidly with a 52-ball knock of 51.

The brothers shared, moreover, a crucial fifth-wicket partnership of 73, coming together at 90 for four in the 28th over, at a point at which the Belgian bowlers were just beginning to assert themselves.

After Roel Verhagen and Saqib Zulfiqar had departed early, bowled by Aziz Khaksar and Soheel Diwan Ali respectively, Tim Etman (22) had taken on the aggressive role in tandem with Asad Zulfiqar, who was clearly determined to play the sheetanchor.

But then Etman hit a return catch to left-arm spinner Sheikh Sheraz and Hidde Overdijk followed three overs later, trapped in front by Shaival Mehta.

That brought Asad and Sikander together, and in their different ways they produced the most convincing stand of the day. By the time Asad was finally out, stumped by Ali Raza off Mussayab Jamil in the 44th over, the balance of the game had shifted, and even though Sikander went in the same way in Mussayab’s next over, the platform had been created for a reasonably challenging total.

It was left to Rahil Ahmed to take advantage, and his carefree 26 not out, made from just 17 deliveries, saw his side past 200.

And then the Dutch bowlers took over.

Shane Snater bowled fast and straight, while his new-ball partner Overdijk, who has clearly developed an extra yard of pace during his spell in South Africa, gave him excellent support.

They were distinctly too sharp for the Belgian top order, and within the space of 11 overs the visitors had been reduced to 21 for five, Snater taking four of them at a cost of just 12 runs and Overdijk repeatedly beating the bat as he claimed one for 8 in five overs.

Only Sheikh Sheraz, with a run-a-ball 24, showed any sign of taking the attack to the Dutch bowling, but when off-spinner Mahesh Hans came on he immediately had him caught at long on, and the Belgian resistance was effectively over.

Hans took three more wickets to finish with four for 11, and the innings closed after 25.3 overs for a disappointing 64.

The two sides will meet again next Sunday, and Belgium will need to raise their game considerably if they are to challenge a young Dutch squad which will have given new national coach Ryan Campbell some real encouragement.