After three of the seven league matches, the Dutch are now on 46 points – six ahead of defending champion Ireland
· UAE coach Aqib Javed says his side is in a transition and the more it will play the longer version of the game, the better it will get
· Hong Kong’s debut home first-class match abandoned without a ball being bowled
The Netherlands has moved to the top of the ICC Intercontinental Cup after defeating the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by four wickets with a day to spare at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
After three of the seven league matches, the Dutch are now on 46 points – six ahead of defending champion Ireland, which has played one less match in the competition. William Porterfield’s side will travel to Townsville later this month where it will play Papua New Guinea from 31 January to 3 February.
The Netherlands-UAE match finished inside three days, but it produced some strong performances from either side.
On the first day, the Netherlands’ left-arm chinaman bowler Michael Rippon took four for 45, Vivian Kingma took three for 37 and Roelof van der Merwe bagged two for 44 as the UAE was skittled out for 164 in less than 52 overs.
The Netherlands resumed second day’s play at its overnight score of 153 for three and was bowled out for 315. The score revolved around Peter Borren’s 96, Stephan Myburgh (62), van der Merwe (48) and Wesley Barresi (43). Ahmed Raza, the UAE captain, was the pick of the bowlers when he recorded his career-best figures of six for 112, while Farhan Ahmed took four for 78 on debut.
UAE began day three on the back foot. It was 136 for six, just 15 runs ahead with five wickets standing, but Shaiman Anwar was batting on 103. Together with Saqlain Haider (49), Shaiman put on 144 runs for the sixth wicket. However, after Saqlain departed at the score of 224 and Shaiman returned a run later, the UAE’s innings folded at 276.
This gave the Netherlands a 126-run target, which it achieved for the loss of six wickets in 42.5 overs.
UAE coach Aqib Javed was upbeat despite defeat in three days. “Considering that we had six debutants and a couple of guys were playing their second matches, I think we played decently. We were up against an experienced Dutch side, whose players are used to playing the longer version of cricket, both at home and abroad.
“We are patient and understand that we’re a team in the making. The more we’ll play four-day cricket, the better the players will get. At the moment they are struggling to adjust from Twenty20 format to the demands and rigours of four-day cricket.
“I think we lost the match in the first innings. We were always chasing the match after we were dismissed for 164. If our batsmen had made better stroke-selection and scored 70-odd more runs, then we would have been able to put the Dutch under more pressure.
“Shaiman’s century and Ahmed’s six-for are strong indicators that we have quality players. We just need to give them a little more experience and exposure to four-day cricket and then we’ll be a team which will be able to regularly challenge the top sides.”
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s debut first-class match in front of its home crowd at the Mission Road Ground, Mong Kok, was abandoned without a ball being bowled. The 20 available points were equally divided between Hong Kong and Scotland.
The Mission Road Ground will now hope to stage some limited-overs cricket when Hong Kong and Scotland face off in the ICC World Cricket League Championship fixtures on 26 and 28 January. Hong Kong and Scotland are on equal points on six, but Hong Kong is ranked first due to its better net run-rate. Scotland is currently in fourth.
In Abu Dhabi, the UAE will host the Netherlands in two 50-over matches as part of the ICC Intercontinental Cup on 27 and 29 January. Netherlands has not lost a match in this competition though its two matches were washed-out, meaning it is on six points. The UAE is in seventh position on two points with one win and three losses.
Scores in brief
Netherlands beat UAE by four wickets at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
UAE - 164 (Swapnil Patil 41; Michael Rippon 4-45, Vivian Kingma 3-37, Roelof van der Merwe 2-44) and 276 (Shaiman Anwar 148, Saqlain Haider 49; Ahsan Malik 3-55)
Netherlands - 315 (Peter Borren 96, Stephan Myburgh 62, Roelof van der Merwe 48, Wesley Barresi 43; Ahmed Raza 6-112, Farhan Ahmed 4-78) and 128-6 (Max O’Dowd 36; Zaheer Maqsood 3-26)
Result: Netherlands won by four wickets
Points: Netherlands 20 UAE 0
Hong Kong vs Scotland match at Mission Road Ground, Mong Kok abandoned without a ball being bowled
Points: Hong Kong 10 Scotland 10
Forthcoming ICC Intercontinental Cup match:
31 January – 3 February: PNG v Ireland, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townville (third round fixture)
Visit ICC Intercontinental Cup and ICC World Cricket League Championship for more details.