Netherlands Win WCL Championship Thriller

Netherlands Win WCL Championship Thriller
Netherlands Win WCL Championship Thriller

Netherlands 240-9 (van Bunge 60) beat
Namibia 236-5 (van Schoor 93no) by 1 wicket
World Cricket League Championship, Windhoek

Contrasting fifties from Wesley Barresi and Daan van Bunge helped the Netherlands win the second World Cricket League Championship fixture by just one wicket against Namibia.

The two points from the win puts the visitors three points clear in the automatic qualification places for the 2015 World Cup, while Namibia can no longer make the top two.

The Netherlands had looked to be cruising towards their target of 237 at 105 for one in the 16th over. Barresi had smashed 58 off just 36 balls during a second-wicket stand of 83 with Stephan Myburgh (32).

However, Barresi was bowled by Craig Williams to bring about a steady procession of wickets that didn’t halt until last-man Ahsan Malik hit the winning boundary with two overs to spare.

Van Bunge guided the Netherlands closer and closer to their target, but the Namibian bowlers led by Christi Viljoen (three for 43) and Craig Williams (three for 58) kept chipping away at the other end. Mudassar Bukhari was eighth man out with 23 still needed, with van Bunge then departing for 60 off 83 balls with the scores level.

Fortunately, Malik hit Viljoen’s last ball to the boundary to spark jubilant scenes as the Dutch moved one step closer to the big prize in associate cricket.

Raymond van Schoor had earlier held the home side’s innings together, batting throughout the 50 overs to end on 93 not out off 130 balls.

He and Xander Pitchers (48) did add 104 for the first-wicket, but the scoring rate was slow and wickets began to tumble following Pitchers’ departure. Both Pitchers and Stephan Baard were run out, with Peter Borren (two for 34) dispatching Williams and skipper Shanel Burger in single figures. When Malik (one for 32) removed Louis van der Westhuizen, five wickets had fallen for 47 runs in 11 overs and the score read 151 for five.

Nicolaas Scholtz, though, came to the fore. He and van Schoor added an unbroken 85 for the sixth-wicket in 79 balls to propel Namibia to 236 for five and set up an entertaining second half. Scholtz ended on 51 off 45 balls, having hit four fours and one six.

Ultimately, the total wouldn’t prove quite enough and so Namibia’s hosting of the Netherlands, that began with victory in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match, has now resulted in back-to-back WCL Championship defeats. The two sides will now be joined by Kenya and a South Africa Emerging Players side for a quadrangular twenty20 tournament.

© Cricket World 2013

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