Dutch complete series win
The Netherlands wrapped up a two-nil series win over the United Arab Emirates in their second WCL Championship match in Deventer on Monday, but they were made to work a good deal harder for the points than they had in the initial game on Saturday.
Again put in to bat after Peter Borren won the toss, the Emiratis suffered an early setback when Timm van der Gugten trapped Amjad Ali in front with the third delivery of the match, but then Haroon Iftikhar and skipper Khurram Khan laid the foundations for a respectable total with a second-wicket stand of 119 – more than the entire team had managed in Rotterdam.
Borren tried seven bowlers in an attempt to secure the breakthrough and, as so often in the past, he himself did the trick, Haroon holing out to Mudassar Bukhari off his bowling when the Emirati opener had made a steady 77-ball 41.
Khurram had been the more aggressive member of the partnership, but he fell in the following over, caught by Pieter Seelaar off Michael Swart. He had made 71 from 85 deliveries, with seven fours and a six.
Saqib Ali departed first ball, for the second time in successive matches, again caught behind by Wesley Barresi but this time off the bowling of Mudassar Bukhari, who replaced Borren as soon as the captain had removed Haroon.
The UAE were showing signs of teetering again, but Shaiman Anwar and Vikrant Shetty shared a useful little stand, and then Shaiman joined forces with Rohan Mustafa, who had played such a key role in lending his side at least a little respectability on Saturday.
But Seelaar, who had removed Shetty with the total on 161, added both Shaiman – who made a defiant 39 – and Amjad Javed to his haul to finish with three for 44. That made it 200 for seven, and when Swart returned to dismiss Rohan for 29 and Ahsan Malik Jamil removed Muhammad Naveed in the final over, the Emirates ended on 221 for nine.
The Dutch began their reply briskly, Barresi and Swart going after Naveed in particular and the score had reached 32 by the time Amjad Javed had Barresi leg-before in the seventh over.
Swart and Bukhari added 70 in thirteen overs, and it seemed that the Netherlands were on their way to a fairly comfortable victory. But then Manjula Guruge removed Bukhari for 29 and, as is so often the case, one wicket led to another, Swart falling to Khurram in the next over after having made an aggressive 50-ball 48, with three fours and three sixes.
The scoring rate now fell back a little, and the 59 added by Tom Cooper and Eric Szwarczynski for the fourth wicket took them fifteen overs. Szwarczynski's departure for 19 with the total on 162 was the cue for a middle-order collapse, with four wickets falling for 18 runs in the space of five overs, and at 180 for seven the Emiratis were undoubtedly back in the game.
Cooper had made 46 when he fell to Ahmed Raza, but neither Tom de Grooth nor Shahbaz Bashir was able to get off the mark, and with nine overs left the Dutch still needed 42 to win with three wickets in hand.
Fortunately for the home side, Borren and Seelaar were now at the crease, and they used all their experience to work their way steadily towards the target, knocking the runs off largely in singles until, in the 49th over with six required for victory, Seelaar unleashed a hefty blow over long off to ensure the win for his side.
Borren finished on 32 and Seelaar on 22, and the Dutch were home with eight balls to spare.
The double victory keeps alive the Netherlands' hopes of taking one of the two automatic qualification places for the 2015 World Cup, although with their remaining schedule comprising matches against Namibia in Windhoek next spring, Ireland at home in the following summer and then away series in Canada in the autumn, they know that it will be no easy task to overhaul the Scots, who have also still to face Ireland as well as Afghanistan (in Sharjah) and Kenya.
More immediately, the Netherlands' next opponents are Bangladesh in the Twenty20 format, and as the match in Deventer was reaching its climax the news broke that there would now be a second T20 International between the two sides. Following the already-scheduled game, at Voorburg on Wednesday, the sides will meet again at the same venue on Thursday, starting at two o'clock local time.