Geelong: Fast bowlers Bas de Leede, Fred Klaassen bowled brilliant spells with the ball while captain Scott Edwards showed calmness and got the crucial winning run for the Netherlands to survive a gutsy UAE fightback to win by three wickets in a low-scoring thriller match of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at Kardinia Oval, Geelong, today.
On a two-paced pitch, the match was full of twists and turns under the night sky. De Leede was pick of the bowlers for the Netherlands with 3/19, all of his scalps coming in the 19th over.
His fellow pacer, left-arm fast bowler Klaassen was good in his spell of 2/13 while Tim Pringle (1/13) and Roelof van der Merwe (1/19) played key roles too in restricting UAE to 111/8 in 20 overs. In reply, Netherlands were also kept under check by the UAE as they lost wickets at regular intervals and didn’t score a boundary after the eighth over.
With pacer Junaid Siddique bringing UAE back in the match with a spell of 3/24, Edwards hung around till the end and survived a run-out in the final over when six runs were needed off as many balls to get Netherlands home with a ball to spare and open their account in the Group A points table with two points.
Electing to bat first, it was an innings where the UAE were devoid of momentum right from the word go. After getting 31/0 in power-play, Chirag Suri fell to Roelof van der Merwe while the move to promote Kashif Daud as a pinch-hitter didn’t give substantial returns for the UAE.
Muhammad Waseem was the top-scorer for the UAE with 41 runs, but he made those runs off 47 deliveries. After making 54/2 in the middle overs, the UAE batters succumbed to the pressure of going for the big hits, falling quickly in the last five overs as Netherlands picked six wickets for 26 runs in the last five overs, three of them going to de Leede.
Netherlands’ chase began with Vikramjit Singh bringing out delightful cuts through point on successive balls off Junaid Siddique in the opening over. In the next over, he was castled by Basil Hameed while going for an expansive slog-sweep.
Max O’Dowd hit a six and three fours in his 18-ball 23, before he was completely foxed by a ball which kept low and crashed into the middle-stump to give Siddique his first wicket of the match.
Though de Leede and Colin Ackermann hanged around, UAE didn’t let them stay at the crease for long as they picked wickets at regular intervals. De Leede went for a drive off Karthik Meiyappan with skipper CP Rizwan taking a terrific low catch at cover.
Three overs later, Ackermann’s slog-sweep was pouched by square leg off Ayaan Afzal Khan. Siddique brought UAE back in the match by trapping Tom Cooper lbw and got a full yorker to hit the base of van der Merwe’s off-stump in the 14th over where he conceded just one run.
He could have made it three wickets in an over, if Rizwan hadn’t dropped a simple catch of Tim Pringle. Eventually, Pringle was cleaned up by an inswinging yorker from Zahoor Khan in the 19th over as the 27-run stand was broken and took Netherlands out of trouble from 76/6 in 13.3 overs.
Edwards, whose father was sitting in the stands, ensured that the Netherlands ended up on the winning side to cap off a gripping opening day of the T20 World Cup.