Dutch lose again in Napier

The Netherlands squad pose for a photo ahead of their series against New Zealand XI

The course of Saturday’s second warm-up match at McLean Park in Napier may have been different but the outcome was the same, and it was again the newly-minted Blackcap Michael Bracewell who was the most significant factor.

After the captains had agreed without the need for a toss that this time the tourists should bat first, Bracewell struck twice to remove Max O’Dowd and Scott Edwards in successive overs, and then he again anchored the New Zealand XI’s reply, his 72-ball 81 taking his side to within 20 runs of the Netherlands’ 214 for nine.

Each side had made two changes from Thursday: for the Dutch, Scott Edwards and Clayton Floyd came in for Brandon Glover and Philippe Boissevain, lending greater strength to the top order, while for the home side pacemen Jake Gibson and Ben Sears replaced Matt Bacon and Tim Pringle.

It was James Hartshorn who struck the first blow, however, when Vikram Singh, on 7, cut uppishly to Matthew Boyle in the gully.

O’Dowd and Edwards now shaped encouragingly against a largely accurate New Zealand attack, intelligent running between the wickets keeping the scoreboard moving as they added 46, but when Bracewell removed both of them and Pieter Seelaar fell to the persistent Angus McKenzie, the Dutch were struggling on 66 for four.

It became 85 for five when Boris Gorlee, like Seelaar, edged a lifting McKenzie delivery to keeper Dane Cleaver, but Logan van Beek now joined Bas de Leede, who had picked up where he left off on Thursday, and these two added 86 for the sixth wicket in under twenty overs before Hartshorn returned to bowl Van Beek for a solid 37.

The scoring rate, however, had hovered at around four per over, and the Dutch would need a big flourish in the final overs if they were to set their hosts a really challenging target.

Hope of that ended when McKenzie had De Leede caught by Mitchell Hay, who had replaced Cleaver behind the stumps; De Leede’s 91-ball 74 had been another big plus for the tourists, not least because he had approached his innings much more positively than he sometimes has in the past.

McKenzie picked up another to finish with a thoroughly-deserved four for 33, and although Aryan Dutt contributed an unbeaten 18 and last man Fred Klaassen lifted Dutch spirits by belting a Gibson full toss over long on for six, the final total seemed somewhat meagre.

The tourists’ hopes were raised when Hay edged De Leede to Edwards with the score on 13, but Boyle and Cleaver were able to post a series of boundaries, and by the end of the initial powerplay the New Zealanders were on 49 for one.

Seelaar broke the partnership when he trapped Cleaver in front sweeping, but Bracewell quickly imposed himself, and when Boyle chipped Ryan Klein to Singh for a well-made 41 the total was already 105.

Josh Clarkson fell leg-before to his first delivery, but first Jesse Tashkoff and then McKenzie gave Bracewell solid support, and although the spinners Dutt and Floyd made the batters work hard for every run, the home side had both wickets and overs in hand.

Two smart stumpings by Edwards, the first off Floyd to remove Tashkoff, the second off Dutt to end Bracewell’s fine innings, were some compensation; McKenzie and Gibson, however, finished the job, and the New Zealand XI won by four wickets with almost eight overs to spare.

The warm-up phase will close on Monday with a T20 match between the same two sides.

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