First blood to the Dutch in Voorburg


Picture Credit: Sander Tholen

The Netherlands began their NORDOK tri-series campaign at Westvliet in Voorburg with a commanding performance against Scotland on Saturday, dismissing the Scots for 126 to win by 41 runs.

Scott Edwards’s side was in control almost from the moment that, their captain having lost the toss, they set about posting a total.

Michael Levitt and Max O’Dowd put on 68 for the first wicket in eight and a half overs, Levitt again taking the lead with a 31-ball 43 which included five fours and a six, but what was particularly striking was the energy with which they ran between the wickets, a leaner and fitter O’Dowd giving his partner plenty of support and putting the Scottish fielders under pressure from the start.

It’s the kind of running we have grown used to from the middle order, but here it was in evidence even within the Powerplay, which produced a healthy 49 runs.

It was Gavin Main who secured the breakthrough, bowling Levitt as he made room to drive through the off side, Edwards himself coming in at three as the Dutch experimented with their batting order; that, indeed, may prove one of the great benefits of this tournament as the squad prepares for the T20 World Cup next month.

Michael Leask’s dismissal of O’Dowd for a run-a-ball 30 brought Vikram Singh to the crease, more evidence of coach Ryan Cook’s exploratory approach, and he proceeded to play an aggressive cameo which suggests that this could be a very useful role in this format for the Netherlands’ third opener.

Singh hit three fours and as many sixes in his 18-ball knock of 39, taking the score from 87 to 137 in less than five overs and converting a promising situation into a very strong one with three overs left.

The Scots had not bowled badly, but the Dutch top order had taken full advantage of an excellent batting pitch, and it is to Richie Berrington’s side’s credit that they fought back strongly in the final three overs, claiming four more wickets and limiting the damage to 29.

Main had the best figures with two for 26, but Brad Currie and Leask also bowled well.

If the Dutch batting had been impressive, the opening attack was even more so, as after a tidy first over from Aryan Dutt Viv Kingma and Logan van Beek reduced the Scots to 16 for three in the space of three overs.

First Michael Jones holed out to Paul van Meekeren off Kingma, then Van Beek bowled Ollie Hairs, and when Kingma had Charlie Tear caught behind by Edwards the innings was in danger of crumbling altogether.

But that brought Matthew Cross in to join Berrington, and over the next seven overs they produced a characterful stand which brought their side back into the game, adding 66 runs before Daniel Doram beat the advancing Berrington in the air, Edwards whipping off the bails before the opposing skipper could regain his ground.

Berrington had made 39 from 29 deliveries, but although Cross went on to a fine 32-ball 49, by the time he was bowled by Van Beek three more wickets had fallen at the other end and the Scottish challenge was effectively over.

The last five wickets, indeed, fell for just 15 runs in the space of 20 balls, three of them from successive deliveries as Kingma, Van Beek and Doram cleaned up the tail.

When Kingma had Mark Watt caught by Levitt he collected his 100th wicket for his national side, adding that of Brad Currie to end the innings and finish with four for 21, his best figures in 15 T20Is.

Van Beek had three for 18 and Doram two for 35, but all six Dutch bowlers contributed to what was a thoroughly convincing victory.

There is, however, a long way to go, and Cook, Edwards and their side will be determined to continue to raise their game, while the Scots will doubtless to looking forward to the rematch on Thursday in what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining series.

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