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30 June 201523:59

Myburgh sets up Netherlands' 18-run win

Nepal's bowlers do well to keep team to 134/5, but batsmen fall short, with Khadka's valiant knock in vain

Myburgh sets up Netherlands' 18-run win  - Cricket News

With the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 fast approaching, the four-match T20 International series between the Netherlands and Nepal that began on Tuesday (June 30) will give the two teams a good chance to polish any rough edges that may hamper their chances. And, in the the first match at the VRA Ground in Amstelveen, Nepal's bowlers did well to restrict the home side to 134 for 5, but the batsmen couldn't overhaul that target, falling short by 18 runs.

Nepal made a scratchy start to its chase. Subash Khakurel (2) fought for seven deliveries before he was dismissed lbw by Ahsan Malik. Binod Bhandari (5) followed soon after, but Paras Khadka, the captain, and Gyanendra Malla (24) dug in to add 31 runs for the fourth wicket. When the duo looked like it would take the game away, Michael Rippon broke the stand: Malla, trying to up the ante, was caught at long-on in the seventh over.

Then, however, Nepal's middle-order could build no further significant partnerships around the skipper. Rajesh Magar (13) and Sharad Vesawkar (10) tried to repair the damage with Khadka, but couldn't build on starts. Nepal needed 50 runs in the last four overs, but ran out of steam.

Khadka fought valiantly for his unbeaten 42-ball 45, while Malik ended with figures of 3 for 23.

Earlier in the day, the Netherlands chose to bat first and was rocked early. Karan KC, the right-arm pacer, troubled the batsmen with his pace and his effort on the field. He ran out Michael Swart (4) in the second over; three balls later, Ben Cooper chipped his first ball to mid-on to gift Basant Regmi a simple catch.

Wesley Barresi was run out soon after and left the Netherlands tottering at 32 for 3. Peter Borren, the captain, then joined Stephan Myburgh (67 not out), the opener, but the duo found it hard to press forward and scored at less than a run a ball in the 33-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Nepal did well to chip away with wickets at regular intervals to keep the scoring rate in check. It was in Rippon (25 not out) that Myburgh found a partner he could rely on. The two scored quickly in a 63-run stand to give the bowlers something to work with. Interestingly, there was not a single boundary in Rippon’s innings as he played a perfect second foil to Myburgh. In the end, it was this stand that made the difference.

The two sides meet at the same venue again on Wednesday before heading to Rotterdam for the last two games of the series.