|European Division 1: Dublin, July 2008|
Scotland set up title decider against Ireland
Scotland set up a final-day decider for the European Championship by making short work of a disappointing Dutch side at Clontarf on Tuesday, bowling the opposition out for 117 and then reaching their target in 22.2 overs for the loss of four wickets.
Undefeated in four matches, Scotland now meet Ireland – also unbeaten – on Thursday in the final ODI of the week.
Somewhat surprisingly, Jeroen Smits elected to bat first on winning the toss, and the Dutch got off to the worst possible start when, after an initial wide from John Blain, Darron Reekers was caught by Ritchie Berrington at backward point off the first legitimate ball of the game.
Tom de Grooth soon followed, caught behind in Blain’s third over, and then with his next ball the Scottish seamer removed Ryan ten Doeschate, who had caught an early flight in order to take part in this match.
The Essex man looked to clip his first ball through midwicket, but succeeded only in chipping it to Gavin Hamilton.
The Netherlands were now 14 for three, another disastrous start, but Daan van Bunge and Eric Szwarczynski now put on 70 for the fourth wicket, batting sensibly and gradually restoring their side’s fortunes.
This process was interrupted early on by a break of almost an hour for rain, but thereafter the Dutch pair fought their way back into the game until Van Bunge, when seemingly well set, hit a simple return catch to Berrington. He had made 34 from 88 balls with one four and a six.
Peter Borren lasted four balls before he was bowled by Glenn Rogers, and then, with the total on 97, Henk-Jan Mol danced down the wicket to the same bowler and was comprehensively stumped.
Szwarczynski continued steadily through the wreckage, and despite the loss of Smits and Mudassar Bukhari – the latter a fourth victim for Blain, brilliantly caught by Ryan Watson at slip – he survived to reach his second ODI half-century.
Almost immediately, however, he too edged Blain to Watson, having made 53 from 72 balls, with seven boundaries. Pieter Seelaar was bowled by Dewald Nel, and the innings closed on 117.
Blain finished with five for 22, his first five-wicket haul in his 28 ODIs, while Rogers had two for 24.
There was time for nine overs before lunch, and Hamilton and Watson moved briskly on to 39 for no wicket by the interval.
They continued in the same vein afterwards, but with the total on 66 Hamilton edged Ten Doeschate, who was bowling a lively spell, to Reekers at slip.
Qasim Sheikh followed five runs later, trapped leg-before by Ten Doeschate, and then Seelaar dismissed Colin Smith and Fraser Watts in one over to reduce Scotland to 78 for four.
Watson remained firmly in control at the other end, however, and supported by Neil McCallum the Scottish captain chalked up the remaining 40 runs needed in 5.2 overs, reaching a 62-ball half-century (including nine fours and a six) just before his partner hit the winning boundary.
Ten Doeschate finished with two for 24, and Seelaar had two for 31.
It was a third defeat in four games for The Netherlands, and the gap between them and their rivals in the High Performance Program has been disturbingly large this week. For unbeaten Scotland, on the other hand, the prospect of a first-ever European title beckons if they can defeat Ireland on Thursday.