Opener smashes 22-ball 42 as Netherlands wins by seven wickets to finish fifth in World T20 Qualifier
After Hong Kong was restricted to 121 for 7, Ben Cooper led Netherlands's chase with a quickfire 22-ball 42 to throw the bowlers off guard. The explosive start was enough to give Netherlands a firm push as they crossed the line with eight balls to spare.
Hong Kong chose to bat but didn't do enough as it lost three wickets with just 11 runs on the board inside the first three overs. Waqas Barkat (24) and Babar Hayat (46), the captain, helped restore normalcy with a 70-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Just when it looked like Hong Kong had a bit of momentum came a decisive blow from Peter Borren, who broke the partnership to trigger a collapse that prevented Hong Kong from scoring more than it could have. Vivian Kingma returned figures of 3 for 22 in his four overs, while Ahsan Malik picked up two wickets.
In reply, Stephan Myburgh (30) and Cooper set Netherlands on the road to victory with a 67-run opening stand before Nizakat Khan picked up three quick wickets to derail the chase, but just for a brief while. The impetus at the start meant the middle order had enough time to rebuild and with only 46 to get off 62 balls, Tim Gruijters (26*) and Daan van Bunge (20*) shared an unbeaten stand and guided Netherlands home.
“I guess qualifying was a relief. Like I said earlier, we should qualify and we managed to do that,” said a delighted Borren, the Netherlands captain. “It would have been nice to move further in the tournament to make to the semis or final and try and challenge to win the tournament, I guess, but still we are happy to qualify.
“We had a bit of a funny day with joy of qualifying yesterday and today it could have been a bit of hiccup. But in the end, it was professional performance from us winning convincingly, so very happy and satisfied.”
Barqat, Borren’s opposite number, said the experience of playing in the tournament would help his team stand in good stead ahead of bigger challenges. “I think it was disappointing not to finish off in a winning style,” he said. “I think the guys fought back well even though they got 60 odd runs in ten overs.
“We fought hard and it was a good game. We played against good sides, which had good players who play in counties and do well in first-class cricket. I think to play against them was amazing and we had a lot to learn and it was great to play against some quality sides and qualify.
“We will be playing again with some good sides in New Zealand in January. It will not be easy to shift from the 20-over format to the 50-over format in a month’s time. We have one month to prepare ourselves and obviously then the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh will be a very big tournament for us and we will work really hard for it.”