Dutch secure place in ODI League with WCLC win
The Netherlands have secured the 13th place in the new ICC ODI League - set to start in 2020 - after securing the WCLC title thanks to a win over Namibia along with a Hong Kong defeat of Papua New Guinea.
Dutch captain Peter Borren won the toss and asked Namibia to bat first on the ICC Academy Number 2 ground in Dubai. The Dutch started well with Stephan Baard out for just one in the second over. Louis van der Westhuizen and Zane Green then put on 74 for the second wicket before Green was the second man out for 34.
Van der Westhuizen scored 54 before he was the fourth man out, with that being the top score of the Namibian innings. Gerhard Erasmus and JP Kotze also chipped in with 52 and 48 respectively as Namibia scored 269-8 from their 50 overs. Roelof van der Merwe was the pick of the Dutch bowlers with 3-54.
The Netherlands lost Stephan Myburgh for a duck early on in their reply, but that was only a blip for the Dutch as Wesley Baressi and Ben Cooper set about dismantling the Namibian bowling attack. The pair set a record for the highest partnership in WCLC history, and the third highest in any World Cricket League tournament as they put on 236 for the second wicket.
Baressi was the first of the two to be dismissed, having scored 120 from 127 balls. This brought Peter Borren to the crease who scored 16 from 8 balls, with Cooper finishing unbeaten on 109. The pair secured the eight wicket win, meaning that Ryan ten Doeschate wasn't required with bat or ball on his return to the Dutch line-up for the first time since the 2011 World Cup.
Attention then shifted to the neighbouring number one ground at the ICC Academy, where Hong Kong were playing Papua New Guinea. Hong Kong batted first after PNG captain Asad Vala won the toss, and scored 230-8 from their 50 overs, Babar Hayat following his 214 in the Intercontinental Cup against the same team with a knock of 77, the top score for Hong Kong.
Papua New Guinea soon found themselves on the back foot on 29-4. A 98 run fifth wicket partnership between Sese Bau and Mahuru Dai got their chase back on track before Dai was out for 60. Bau and Jack Vare took them to 165 before Vare was the sixth man out.
At this point the Dutch had completed their win over Namibia and their players and officials began to gather on the balcony, knowing a Hong Kong win would secure the Dutch their place in the ODI league. Sese Bau was the seventh man out having scored 59. The sometimes dangerous Norman Vanua was only able to score 14 and PNG were bowled out for 207, meaning that the Netherlands had won the WCLC and qualified for the ODI league.
At the fall of the final wicket, the Dutch players erupted in cheers, with ICC cameras capturing captain Peter Borren holding back the tears. Twelve months ago - almost to the day - he'd bemoaned the fact that the Dutch had played just three games in the previous nine months. Today's results ensured that from 2020 to 2022 they will be playing 24 ODIs against full members.
Of course the win for Hong Kong also secured their place in next year's World Cup Qualifier, where they will play their first ODIs against full members since the 2008 Asia Cup. Scotland also had a chance of securing their place in that tournament when they took on Kenya at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer put the Kenyans into bat, and the African side struggled as they were bowled out for just 140. Collins Obuya top scored with 26, whilst Safyaan Sharif was the pick of the Scottish bowlers, taking 3-33.
Scotland lost Matthew Cross early on in their reply, but still had little trouble chasing down their target. Kyle Coetzer scored 52, putting on 87 for the second wicket with Calum MacLeod. MacLeod himself was the top scorer for the Scots with an unbeaten 56 as they completed an eight wicket win with 22 overs to spare, securing their place in the World Cup Qualifier.
With those games all being crucial for the outcome of the tournament, the ICC obviously decided to live stream the one dead rubber contest of the final round as Nepal took on UAE at Abu Dhabi in a game between two teams that had already been confirmed as being relegated to WCL2.
As in the other matches, the captain that won the toss - in this case UAE's Rohan Mustafa - chose to put the opposing team in to bat. Shared Vesawkar top scored for Nepal with an unbeaten 81 as they scored 221-6 from their 50 overs. The hosts then had little trouble chasing down their target, winning by seven wickets. Ghulam Shabber top scored for them with an unbeaten 81.
The teams will all meet again on Friday for the final four matches of the WCLC. Places in the World Cup Qualifier and ODI League may all be confirmed, but there are still other tournament placings to decide. Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong can still all finish second, whilst further down the table, a second win for the UAE over Nepal will see them finish in sixth place, whilst a big enough UAE defeat and a big enough Namibia win over the Netherlands could yet see Namibia avoid the wooden spoon.