25 July 2015
PREVIEW: Scotland, Netherlands chase glory
Exciting ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier final awaits as both sides are on a four-match winning streak and have similar strengths
Both Scotland and Netherlands seem evenly matched at many levels – a sure-shot recipe for a fantastic final.
Both teams come into the game on the back of winning streaks. Scotland beat Hong Kong by five wickets in the first semi-final, its fourth victory in a row. Key to Scotland’s results has been the coming together of all departments – the batsmen and bowlers have clicked in tandem, and that has made it a dangerous prospect.
Against Hong Kong, Scotland opted to field, and its pacemen peppered the opposition batsmen with short balls early on. All of Alasdair Evans, Safyaan Sharif and Rob Taylor picked three wickets apiece and the attacking brand of cricket paid dividends with Hong Kong bowled out for 116. Then, Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross put on a 52-run stand as Scotland reached its target with 46 balls to spare.
And a few of its players have made their presence felt throughout the competition. Evans’s 3 for 17 against Hong Kong made him the second highest wicket-taker in the league, with 14 in seven matches at a juicy economy of 6.25. Among the batsmen, Coetzer’s 19-ball 33 lifted him into the top five, with 206 runs in seven matches at 34.33 and a strike-rate of 149.27.
After the win over Hong Kong, Preston Mommsen, the Scotland captain, said his team was determined to make it count in the final. "It's awesome to be in the final of this tournament. We got a huge job to do though, we have to be the No. 1 team here and show good cricket, and tomorrow provides us with an opportunity to make a case for that."
Against Netherlands, Scotland will meet a side that has similar strengths. Netherlands arrives on the back of a four-match winning streak as well – a run built on the combined efforts of its batsmen and bowlers – after having seen off the significantly tough challenge posed by Ireland in the second semi-final.
After opting to field, Netherlands’ attack was led by Mudassar Bukhari’s medium-pace, which yielded 4 for 28 and helped bowl out Ireland for 128 in 19.5 overs. Then, despite a poor start to the chase, the middle order showed resilience, Ben Cooper and Michael Swart putting on 57 to propel the chase and nullify Kevin O’Brien’s 3 for 26.
As far as the individual performances go, Cooper is the second highest run-scorer of the tournament so far, with 241 runs in eight matches at 34.42 and a strike-rate of 129.56. Among the bowlers, Roelof van der Merwe and Bukhari both have 11 wickets apiece so far, and are likely to be Scotland’s biggest threats come Sunday.
All in all, both teams seem evenly matched at many levels – a sure-shot recipe for a fantastic final.
Scotland: Preston Mommsen (capt), Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross, Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt.
Netherlands: Peter Borren (capt), Rahil Ahmed, Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Ahsan Malik, Stephan Myburgh, Max O'Dowd, Michael Rippon, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe*, Paul van Meekeren, Thijs van Schelven, Pieter Seelaar, Michael Swart.