Dutch at the double again
Posted in Clydesdale Bank 40
Anyone who was surprised by the Netherlands’ Clydesdale Bank 40 defeats of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire over the bank holiday weekend must have a short memory.
Peter Borren’s side began their CB40 campaign with the narrowest of wins at Bristol and a nine-wicket Duckworth/Lewis demolition at Kidderminster.
That emulated their back-to-back away victories on Easter weekend last year. Having seen off Yorkshire and Derbyshire, they went on to secure five wins and earn a respectable fifth place in Group A.
They nearly made it three in a row, but lost by one run to Middlesex at Lord’s.
The last of their quintet of triumphs was against Monday’s opponents, whom they had previously endured a washout with in Rotterdam.
That result rounded off an unexpectedly successful campaign in light of a single win during their introduction to the competition the previous year.
Finishing above Yorkshire and Worcestershire, and on the same points as Kent, demonstrated their pedigree in limited-overs cricket.
That itself was nothing new, given the Netherlands had shocked England in the opening match of the 2009 World Twenty20.
Nine of the players they used in last year’s CB40 had represented them at the World Cup prior to the start of the season.
Although they lost all six group games to exit at the earliest stage, the Netherlands had become a team that could hold their own against county opposition.
With the addition of Australians Shane Mott, who became the competition’s joint second-highest leading wicket-taker, and Michael Swart, they were a force to be reckoned with.
Mott was heading the wicket charts with 21 from nine matches when an horrific broken leg and ankle, sustained while bowling for Bangor in the North Wales Premier League, denied him the chance to end on top.
However, the Netherlands were by no means over-reliant on their overseas players. Tom Cooper, Mudassar Bukhari, Borren, Wesley Barresi and Tom de Grooth comfortably scored more than 200 runs. Bukhari also bagged 19 wickets and Borren 12.
Swart, who qualifies as a non-overseas player, is back this year, alongside countryman Cameron Borgas.
So far they have been upstaged by fellow batsman Stephan Myburgh, a big-hitting left-handed opener who made a 48-ball 55 versus Worcestershire in his sole competition appearance last year.
Myburgh cracked 77 against Gloucestershire and was unbeaten on 74 from 50 deliveries when the Netherlands reached a revised target of 139 from 19 overs versus Worcestershire.
He added an unbroken 132 with Borgas, who hit a 43-ball 55, as the second-wicket duo completed victory with 2.1 overs to spare.
Bukhari’s three wickets had earlier helped limit the hosts to 172 for four from their maximum of 27 overs.
The previous day, the seamer had defended 13 from the final over and three from the last ball from which Benny Howell, flying on 72 not out from 50 deliveries, could manage just a leg-bye.
Howell and Gloucestershire had been going well in pursuit of the Netherlands’ 239 for six, a total built on Myburgh’s innings and consistent middle-order contributions.
But from 220 for five in the 38th over, the hosts lost three wickets in four balls. The latter two went to left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar, who claimed 4-42.
Bukhari held his nerve to seal a one-run win, the first of two triumphs that has left his side on top of a fledgling Group A.
Can they stay there? With their next three games at home, why not?