Nicol and Fuller dominate Dutch
Opener Rob Nicol marked his second appearance for Gloucestershire with a boundary-laden 133 as the Netherlands’ hopes of reaching the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals ended with a 90-run defeat on the Duckworth/Lewis method in Amstelveen.
Nicol’s powerful 113-ball knock, which featured seven fours and as many sixes, helped Gloucestershire to an imposing total of 290 for six after Alex Gidman had chosen to bat first.
James Fuller, who chipped in with 40 off 24 balls, then returned career-best figures of 6-35 as the Netherlands - faced with a revised target of 237 from 28 overs following a rain delay - were bowled out for 146.
Fuller’s performance represented a fine comeback from the youngster after he conceded 38 in one over during Gloucestershire’s Friends Life t20 quarter-final defeat to Sussex.
Gloucestershire now lie second in Group A, ahead of today’s opponents on net run-rate and a point behind leaders Middlesex. The Netherlands have played all of their group fixtures and can therefore no longer make it through to the last four.
Peter Borren’s side struggled to keep the scoring rate in check from the outset as Nicol and Hamish Marshall put on 102 for the first wicket inside 17 overs.
As bowler after bowler was introduced into the attack, both batsmen progressed with comfort until Marshall pulled left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar to deep backward square-leg to fall for 47.
Benny Howell made just 10 before mis-judging the length and being cleaned up by left-arm spinner Seelaar, and Dan Housego was caught at cover for a run-a-ball 21.
Yet Nicol continued to prosper with a series of savage strokes and Fuller, promoted to five, cleared the ropes on two occasions en route to 40 from 24 deliveries.
Nicol finally holed out to deep midwicket off Michael Swart in the 36th over, having accelerated rapidly in the closing stages of his innings, and Fuller was also caught on the rope in the penultimate set of six.
By that stage, Gloucestershire had moved into a healthy position and that soon improved when Wesley Barresi and Swart fell cheaply at the start of Netherlands’ innings.
A breezy third-wicket partnership of 81 between Tom Cooper, who excelled through the leg side en route to 51, and Cameron Borgas got the hosts in front on D/L as rain started to fall steadily.
However, Borgas was then bowled by Ed Young for 30 attempting a wild heave and Cooper became a second victim for Fuller just four balls later.
It was not long before the showers intensified, leading to a delay which left the Netherlands requiring a further 123 from just 73 deliveries.
Such a target was always likely to prove beyond their reach and wickets soon tumbled.
Fuller accounted for Tim de Grooth, who spliced a pull to midwicket, and Borren, caught at long-on, either side of Young trapping Mudassar Bukhari plumb lbw.
Tim Gruijters was lbw to Nicol before Fuller removed Timm van der Gugten and Ahsan Malik to round off a fine individual performance.