Bertus de Jong
Mudassar Bukhari's career-best return of 6-24 set up an emphatic 7-wicket victory for the Netherlands over the UAE in Abu Dhabi. The veteran paceman's best figures in any format for the Netherlands saw the UAE skittled for just 112, Michael Swart's unbeaten 60 anchoring the chase as the visitors closed out the win in just 20.3 overs.
Having won the toss and elected to bowl, Bukhari set the tone for the innings early, trapping Muhammad Kaleen LBW with his second ball. Though the same over would go for 13 runs, Shaiman Anwar colecting three consecutive boundaries, Bukhari would concede just 11 more runs from his remaininng 9 overs and collect 5 more scalps.
Anwar's was the second, Bukhari splitting his stumps with the third ball of his next over, before combining with skipper Peter Borren at first slip to see off Swapnil Patil two balls later. Muhammad Usman fell to the same combination 6 overs later as Borren bagged his 38th WCLC catch.
A funereal 40-run stand for the 5th wicket between Mohhamad Shahzad and Saqlain Haider held up the Dutch for some 15 overs, but Ahsan Malik got things moving again, jagging one back through the gate into the top of off to bring an end to Shahzad's 37-run, 78-ball vigil.
Haider struggled manfully on but the Emirati tail fell apart around him, leaving him unbeaten on 33 when Bukhari returned to wrap things up, dismissing Farhan Ahmed and Manjula Guruge with consecutive deliveries as the hosts were rolled for just 112.
The Dutch chase got off to a brisk start, and a win inside of 10 overs looked on the cards as opening pair Michael Swart and Stephan Myburgh put on 54 in the first 6 overs. But with Myburgh's dismissal in the 10th, top-edging Guruge to mid-on for 25, the scoring rate slowed appreciably.
When Ahmed Raza struck twice in two overs to remove Ben Cooper and Borren - both LBW - with 28 still needed, the wind seemed to go out of the Dutch sails entirely. But though the wickets slowed the visitors, it was not enough to stop them. Together with Wesley Barresi, Swart saw Oranje home inside 21 overs, finishing unbeaten on 60 from 67.
The win sees the Netherlands keep pace with Hong Kong at the top of the table on 8 points, having taken two points from each of their games, barring two washed-out matches against Scotland. Hong Kong's 5 total wins see them notionally ahead, but the Netherlands now enjoy a significat net run rate advantage. With poor weather forecast for Hong Kong's second match against the Scots tomorrow, the Dutch may have a chance to go a point clear at the top with a second win on Friday.