A week which had begun so promisingly for the Netherlands with an historic win over Ireland in the opening match of the European Under-19 World Cup Qualifier in Almería ended in disappointment on Friday, as the Dutch fell short in a run chase which could have taken them into Saturday’s final.
Needing to win their last round-robin game against Jersey by a big enough margin to overhaul Scotland on net run rate, Vikram Singh’s side knew that, once he had won the toss and elected to field, they would have to chase down whatever target their opponents set in just over 30 overs.
Practically, that meant restricting Jersey to a total in the vicinity of 150 or so, but a combination of some determined batting by the islanders, combined with poor discipline from the Dutch bowlers, enabled Jersey to reach 209 for eight, and the Netherlands were facing a required rate of more than six and a half an over.
Needing early wickets, the Dutch instead conceded ten wides in the first two overs, and although they settled somewhat thereafter they continued to leak extras, a final tally of 30 wides from 18 deliveries together with four no-balls meaning that they had given their opponents almost four additional overs.
Despite these lapses Singh himself and Aryan Dutt otherwise kept the Jersey batters relatively quiet, Singh’s ten overs yielding just 25 in total and Dutt’s 27 (and three wickets), but determined resistance from Josh Lawrenson (31) and Asa Tribe (34) produced a valuable third-wicket partnership of 66.
The Dutch seemed to have clawed their way back when Tribe’s dismissal was the cue for four wickets falling for nine runs in the space of three overs, and at 157 for seven with seven overs remaining there was a prospect of the Netherlands keeping the Jersey total well below 200.
But now wicketkeeper Jamie Watling took over, hitting an unbeaten 40 from 28 deliveries, and with 49 coming from the last five overs the Dutch batters found themselves facing a near-impossible task with just 31.4 overs available to make 210 and leap-frog into the final.
It became even harder when George Richardson dismissed both openers within the first six overs of the reply, and when Tribe removed Dutt the Dutch were on 37 for three in the ninth over and struggling.
Shariz Ahmad (57) and Pierre Jacod (39) kept their side’s hopes alive, however, with a spirited fourth-wicket stand of 73 in twelve overs, and with runs beginning to flow more freely it suddenly seemed conceivable that the Netherlands might after all achieve their target.
But then off-spinner Robin Carnegie removed first Jacod and then Ahmad, and the momentum of the innings was lost; 72 were still needed from seven overs to reach that run-rate target, and with new batters at the crease the task was just too great.
Jersey’s other off-spinner, Toby Britton, claimed three wickets, two of them through stumpings by Player of the Match Watling, and by the time that decisive fourth delivery of the 32nd over was reached the total was 177 for nine, 33 short. Truly, those extras had made all the difference.
Three overs later Carnegie bowled Udit Nashier to finish with three for 23, and the innings ended on 184, giving Jersey a 25-run victory.
This result means that Scotland will take on Ireland in Saturday’s final, with a place in next year’s Under-19 World Cup the reward for the winner.
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