It was a game of see-sawing fortunes at the Takashinga Sports Club on Thursday but in the end the Netherlands were just too strong for an illness-plagued American side, and skipper Scott Edwards personally took his side to a five-wicket victory.
The USA were again without captain Monank Patel, still confined to the hotel by the stomach disorder which has been running through the squad, but they were able to welcome back key pace bowler Ali Khan, who had completed a two-match suspension.
The Dutch made one change, bringing in pace spearhead Ryan Klein for leg-spinning all-rounder Saqib Zulfiqar, and he made an immediate difference after Edwards had won the toss and elected to field, getting Sushant Modani caught by Vikram Singh at first slip with his third delivery, and then clean bowling Saiteja Mukkamalla through the gate in his third over.
In between, his new-ball partner Logan van Beek had removed Stephen Taylor, and the USA were in serious early trouble on 20 for three.
Stand-in captain Aaron Jones and Gajanand Singh began to engineer a recovery, but with the total on 46 Jones chopped a Bas de Leede delivery into his stumps, and the Americans’ position would have been even more parlous had the Dutch been able to cling on to one or more of a succession of difficult chances.
As it was, it was Vikram Singh who removed Gajanand, nicking through to Edwards down the leg side when he had made 33, and when Nisarg Patel top-edged Clayton Floyd to Wesley Barresi at straight mid-off the innings was threatening to fall apart at 88 for six.
But wicketkeeper Shayan Jahangir was now joined by Jasdeep Singh, and this pair not only survived but began to turn the game back in the Americans’ direction.
With 20 overs remaining the total was only 94 for six, but 57 runs came from the next ten overs, and the partnership had been extended to 86 before Aryan Dutt took a low, sharp return catch to dismiss Jasdeep for a 53-ball 38.
Three overs later De Leede returned to account for the admirable Jahangir, who had made 71 before he pulled the Dutch allrounder straight to Van Beek on the midwicket boundary.
Nosthush Kenjige and Saurabh Netravalkar added 31 off the last four overs, and the USA ended on 211 for eight, a rather better total than had seemed probable when Jahangir and Jasdeep first came together.
The Dutch had bowled very well, Klein the pick of them with two for 31 from his nine overs and De Leede taking two for 37 from ten, the remaining four claiming one a piece in an excellent team effort.
Much would now depend upon Ali Khan, but he was able to bowl only four overs before he was forced to leave the field, in the course of which he had taken an outstanding return catch to remove Vikram Singh, and his absence undoubtedly had a crucial effect upon the outcome.
That said, although Max O’Dowd and Barresi started at a fair clip, putting on 46 in ten overs, with Barresi bringing up 1000 ODI runs in the process, though Jasdeep was rewarded with the wickets of both, trapping first O’Dowd and then Barresi in front.
De Leede did not stay long, skying Netravalkar almost straight up in the air, and at 83 for four the Dutch reply was in danger of slipping into the doldrums.
That was the cue, however, for Edwards to join Teja Nidamanuru, and with some excellent running between the wickets they gradually regained the initiative.
They added 72 for the fifth wicket before Nidamanuru, who had reached fifty for the third time in his ODI career and had gone on to 58, skied a full-blooded blow off Kenjige and was caught at fly slip by substitute Abhishek Paradkar.
Now 57 were needed from fifteen overs, but Edwards was well established, and he proceeded to snuff out any lingering American hopes as he punished an increasingly threadbare attack, racing to another half-century, his 11th in ODIs and his ninth in his last fourteen ODI innings, also reaching 1000 ODI runs.
This one came at exactly a run a ball, and then the Dutch skipper moved up a gear, finishing the match with a four off Nisarg to end with an unbeaten 67 from 60 deliveries.
Jasdeep and slow left-armer Kenjige, whose ten overs yielded just 31 runs, had made the Dutch work hard, but the absence of Ali Khan told in the end, while the early batting collapse meant that the Americans were always playing catch-up.
It was a greatly-improved performance from the Netherlands, especially in the field, but they will need to up their game further when they take on Nepal on Saturday in a match which will be vital in determining who goes through to the Super Six.
You’re reading Emerging Cricket — brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision for cricket to be a truly global sport, and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.
Support us from US$2 a month — and get exclusive benefits, by becoming an EC Patron.