|World Cricket League Championship 2011-2013|
The Dutch go one-up against Kenya at windy Westvliet
Cricket is not usually classified as an extreme sport, but the tail end of Hurricane Katia did its best to change all that at Westvliet in Voorburg on Monday, where the Netherlands and Kenya had as much trouble battling the conditions as they did battling each other.
Wind gusts of over 30 km. an hour during the Dutch innings made accurate bowling difficult, while damage to the sightscreens held up play, for nearly twenty minutes in one case. There were times when the players even seemed to have having trouble standing up.
Despite all this, and a prolonged period of rain which delayed the resumption after lunch and cut the Dutch reply to 43 overs, the sides produced a closely-contested game, with the home side eventually winning by just two wickets with an over to spare.
It was again Peter Borren and Mudassar Bukhari who enabled the Netherlands to come back from a seemingly losing position, adding 53 in a seventh-wicket stand which took their side to within 20 runs of victory. The match turned on their decision to call the batting powerplay at the start of the 33rd over, and the 32 runs which came from those four overs.
Borren was finally out, caught behind off Lucas Oluoch for a 42-ball 40, but Bukhari continued to the end, completing the win with two successive boundaries off Oluoch and finishing on 37 not out, made from only 29 deliveries, with three fours and two sixes.
The day had started extremely promisingly for Kenya, with Seren Waters and Rakep Patel starting brightly after Collins Obuya had won the toss, and Duncan Allan then joining Waters in a second-wicket partnership of 65 which saw the visitors through to 96 for one.
Then Allan was brilliantly caught by Borren at short midwicket off Pieter Seelaar’s bowling – the first of three victims for the Dutch left-armer – and the Kenyan scoring rate began to slow. Waters completed his second ODI half-century and reached 71 from exactly 100 deliveries before his excellent innings ended in an ill-judged sweep at Seelaar, and Kenya were 127 for four.
Tanmay Mishra (22) and Irfan Karim (32) kept the scoreboard moving, but with Borren bowling another fine spell, and then Ashan Malik (Jamil) coming back into the attack to claim three wickets in only his second ODI, the Dutch bowlers did well to restrict Kenya to 208 for eight.
Seelaar finished with three for 43 and Jamil with three for 38, while Borren’s ten overs cost just 39 runs.
The loss of seven overs reduced the Dutch target to 196 under the Duckworth/Lewis system, but they got off to a poor start when openers Eric Szwarczynski and Stephan Myburgh – the latter making his ODI debut – were out slashing loose deliveries to point by the time 14 runs were on the board.
Michael Swart and Wesley Barresi set about rebuilding the innings with a stand of 46, but then both fell to Lameck Onyango in the space of four deliveries, Swart edging a catch to slip when he had made 30, and Barresi failing to get on top of a cover drive and holing out to Collins Obuya.
This brought together Tim Gruijters and Tom de Grooth, who put on another 43 for the fifth wicket, maintaining a scoring rate of four an over despite the efforts of a persistent Kenyan attack. Spinners Hiren Varaiya, Runesh Gudka and Waters all bowled pretty well, but it was the medium pace of Allan which eventually broke the partnership, bowling De Grooth for 22.
Gruijters, batting with both style and maturity, made 32 before he smacked a Gudka delivery straight to Oluoch at long off, and at 123 for six, with 73 runs still needed off fewer than 13 overs, Kenya appeared to have the advantage.
But the Dutch bat deep these days, and Gruijters’ departure brought in Bukhari to join his captain. They pushed the ball around for a couple of overs, but then, with the asking rate over six an over for the first time, they decided that it was time for some controlled aggression, and called for the powerplay.
Although Olouch removed Borren and then Tom Heggelman to finish with three for 41, and Onyango ended with three for 30, they were unable to staunch the flow of runs, and Bukhari saw his side home with six deliveries in hand.
Bizarrely, as the match was in its closing stages, the ICC announced that their new One-Day League would decide two of the four qualifying places for the 2015 World Cup. Since this was the ninth match to be played in the competition, the decision represents the second instance in three months of the ICC changing the rules after a competition has started – they did the same thing in June when they announced that there would be two qualifying spots in next year’s World Twenty20 qualifier rather than the six with which the qualifying process had started.
If this is what is deemed to be good – or even acceptable – governance in Dubai, one can only hope that Lord Woolf’s current review of the ICC leaves those who commit such travesties in no doubt that they are unfit for the task of running the sport.