Worcestershire demolish disappointing Dutch
There is some history it would be better not to make, or indeed, to witness being made. Four days after setting their highest total against county opposition at Leicester, the Dutch were bundled out for a mere 57 by Worcestershire in Voorburg on Friday, losing their Clydesdale Bank 40 League match by nine wickets.
It was by a distance the Netherlands’ lowest total in a List A match, which was previously the 80 they made against the West Indies in 2007; and it was the worst against anybody since, a man short through injury, they were dismissed for 41 by Ireland in 1970.
It was hard to believe that these were essentially the same sides which had played in Kidderminster a few weeks ago, a match which the Dutch won by the same margin, let alone the same batting line-up which had posted 304 for three on Monday.
There were, it is true, mitigating circumstances: Daryl Mitchell won a crucial toss, and the Orange Lions found themselves batting on a Westvliet pitch whose Mr Hyde character was a good deal more evident than that of Dr Jekyll. Its unpredictable behaviour contributed to several of the Dutch dismissals, and the Worcestershire bowlers were skilful enough to take full advantage of the assistance it offered.
That said, it was a pretty inept batting display from the home side. From the very first ball, when Stephan Myburgh was caught behind fencing at a delivery he might well have left alone, to the dismissal of Timm van der Gugten to end the innings in the 24th over, only Tom Cooper, and to a degree Peter Borren, showed any real sign of mastering the conditions and the attack.
Cooper’s 31-ball 25, containing four boundaries, was the most substantial knock, while Borren, surviving two deliveries longer, was the only other man to reach double figures, making a dogged 12.
David Lucas removed both Myburgh and Michael Swart, who was only cleared to play despite a back problem shortly before the start, while Jack Shantry accounted for Wesley Barresi and Cameron Borgas. In between, Gareth Andrew trapped Cooper, playing back to one that kept low, and the Dutch were 33 for five.
Mitchell then got rid of Tim Gruijters and Mudassar Bukhari, both attempting big shots which might have been more appropriate in a T20 match than in this dire situation, and when Andrew had Borren leg-before attempting a pull over midwicket, the Dutch resistance was all but over.
Andrew finished with three for 9 from seven overs, Shantry three for 26, and there were two wickets apiece for Lucas and Mitchell.
The result was a foregone conclusion, but there was time for Van der Gugten to put in a very good six-over spell, in which he gave an indication of what might have happened had Worcestershire batted first, or had he been given a half-decent total to defend. He was rewarded with the wicket of Moeen Ali, smartly caught by Cooper at second slip.
But Vikram Solanki looked comparatively comfortable at the other end, and he unleashed one cover drive which was undoubtedly the shot of the day. Supported by Phil Hughes, he finished on an unbeaten 40-ball 39 as Worcestershire reached their target in just 13.1 overs.