Netherlands 166/4 off 20.0 overs (O’Dowd 53, Cooper 36; Obuya 2/16) defeated Kenya 136/8 off 20.0 overs (Obuya 63; van Meekeren 3/27, Klaassen 2/23) by 30 runs.
After the high of Singapore’s dramatic last-ball upset of pre-tournament favourites Scotland, the other highly-fancied European side in Group A got off to a more successful start as they overcame a fighting effort with both bat and ball from Kenya’s 2003 World Cup hero Collins Obuya – though questions remain over the Dutch form going into the rest of their matches.
A correct call at the toss from skipper Pieter Seelar saw the Dutch pad up first, and Tobias Visee started with customary verve as he slapped a pair of big hits down the ground on his way to 20 (9). He received some assistance from the sloppy Kenyan fielders however, as a runout chance was bungled when he was on 2, and then a catch at mid-on spilt on 12. First-change seamer Nelson Odhiambo finally took matters into his own hands as he castled Visee with a yorker.
Visee’s opening partner Max O’Dowd was also given a lifeline on 2 when long-on couldn’t hold a regulation chance, but he cashed in as he made his way to a Man-of-the-Match half-century (53 off 46). It was a sluggish start for O’Dowd, chewing up deliveries in the powerplay as he struggled to accelerate, though Ben Cooper (recently recovered from a foot injury) was fluent from the get-go as he stroked five boundaries in 36 (28).
Cooper’s dismissal sparked a mini-collapse as he lobbed Kenya captain Shem Ngoche’s left-arm orthodox tamely into the offside. Ryan ten Doeschate came and went (3 off 3), slogging at a short delivery from veteran Collins Obuya (whose legspin had the most penetration with 2/16 off 3) to the man at cow corner before O’Dowd’s ponderous stay finally ended with a swing and a miss against Obuya saw his stumps rearranged. This brought Seelar to the crease, and he provided some much-needed pep to the Dutch innings as he lifted the flagging run rate to reach a solid 166/4.
Seelar did launch a solitary 6, but he was especially good at scampering 2s as he continued the form he has displayed all summer and ended 24* (13). It capped what was a workmanlike performance by and large for the Netherlands, with O’Dowd’s circumspect innings raising eyebrows and the usually big-hitting Roelof van der Merwe scratchy in his run-a-ball 21. Kenya will rue their sloppy fielding as well as some ill-disciplined bowling that allowed the Dutch to get away with several mistakes.
The Kenyan chase, meanwhile, never really got going as the Dutch seamers showed improved form over their efforts in the warmup matches. Paul van Meekeren was especially happy with a brace of cartwheeling stumps and a catch off Timm van der Gugten to knock the top off the Africans’ batting and put them severely behind the asking rate.
Collins Obuya, now 38, rolled back the years with bat as well, counterattacking with 63 (40) to offer a brief glimmer of hope as he launched Seelar over the sightscreen and sent an audacious swat off van Meekeren over the rope at long-on. Van Meekeren soon had a third as Freddie Klaassen held onto a Rakep Patel swipe on the long-on boundary, and when Klassen took an excellent catch off his own bowling to end Obuya’s resistance in the 18th over, the match was all but done.
The Dutch will feel relieved to have successfully negotiated a potential banana skin, but Ryan Campbell’s men no doubt have much to think about before they face tougher opponents starting with Namibia tomorrow; however, their ability to scrap a win without hitting top form is perhaps a silver lining. For Kenya, it’s hard to see them challenging Scotland tomorrow unless they can manufacture a strong turnaround. There is talent in the side, but years of off-field chaos seem to be taking their toll with a listless, distracted performance.