A 197-run stand between Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat went in vain as Netherlands won a close ICC World Cricket League encounter against Hong Kong at Mission Road Ground in Mong Kok by a slender five-run margin on Thursday (February 16).
Choosing to bat first, Netherlands rode on half-centuries from Stephan Myburgh (88 in 98 balls), Roelof van der Merwe (62 in 54) and Pieter Seelaar (50 not out in 43) to post a formidable 330 for 7 in its 50 overs. In the second half, Rath’s 134 and Hayat's 83 powered Hong Kong but it fell agonisingly close, ending on 325 for 9 as the Netherlands bowlers scripted a late fightback.
Hong Kong lost Christopher Carter early but were lifted by a dominant stand for the second wicket between Rath and Hayat. The pair added close to 200 runs in 31.4 overs to shift the momentum in Hong Kong's favour. But the match took a remarkable turn in the 41st over when Borren had Hayat stumped. With the set partnership broken, Michael Rippon dismissed Rath and Nizakat Khan off successive deliveries, triggering a collapse, and Hong Kong went from 250 for 3 to 315 for 9.
Rippon, later named the Man of the Match, was the pick of the bowlers for Netherlands with figures of 4 for 67, while Paul van Meekeren bagged two wickets.
Aizaz Khan gave Hong Kong the perfect opening with the ball with a second-over wicket to reduce Netherlands to 10 for 1, but an 82-run second-wicket stand between Myburgh, the opener, and Ben Cooper (42 in 37) set a solid platform. Ehsan Khan struck twice in two overs in the middle, but Netherlands rose again as van der Merwe joined Myburgh for a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket. Myburgh fell 12 short of his century but van der Merwe and Seelaar went on, and a cameo from Peter Borren (40 in 36 balls) lifted it to a healthy tally.
Aizaz, Ehsan Nawaz and Ehsan Khan took two wickets apiece for Hong Kong.
The next fixture for the two sides is at the same venue on Saturday.
Brief scores: Netherlands 330/7 in 50 overs (Stephan Myburgh 88, Ben Cooper 43, Roelof van der Merwe 62, Peter Borren 40, Pieter Seelaar 50 n.o.; Ehsan Nawaz 2-62, Aizaz Khan 2-73, Ehsan Khan 2-49) beat Hong Kong 325/9 in 50 overs (Anshuman Rath 134, Babar Hayat 83; Paul van Meekeren 2-46, Michael Rippon 4-67) by 5 runs.