The Netherlands has been knocked out of the inaugural Desert T20 Challenge after defeat against Hong Kong last night. Many media outlets had the Dutch as a dark horse to take out the competition but its defeat to Hong Kong left it with two defeats out of its three group games meaning that qualification for the semi-finals is impossible.
The 17th ranked Hong Kong side was hardly brimming with confidence heading into this clash. It had been skittled for a meager 87 against Oman just two days prior and confidence was at an all time low in the camp.
That soon changed however after Captain Babar Hayat won the toss and elected to bat. Hong Kong made a blistering start on the back of Nizakat Khan.
It could have been so different however.
After hitting three boundaries in the first four balls of the innings, Khan drove a regulation catch straight to cover where the catch was spilled by Ahsan Malik. Khan didn’t need any second invitations to cash in as he raced to 59 from 33 balls including seven fours and two big sixes to set Hong Kong on its way to a big total.
His innings was full of movement in his crease. Constantly shuffling back and forth, Khan did anything and everything to put the bowlers off their length.
The Netherlands had been within striking distance of a semi-final birth on Tuesday evening in its clash against Scotland, only for a severe batting collapse (The Dutch was 0-49 off 5 overs chasing 150). Ben Cooper was then caught on the square leg boundary and it all unraveled for the Dutch.
They were never quite in this contest and their inability to take chances in the field hurt them badly. Only Michael Rippon’s Slow Left Arm Chinamen being able to slow down the frequency of runs. Anshuman Rath (44 from 26 balls) and Waqas Khan (33 not out from 25 balls) pushed Hong Kong up to a great total of 4-183 and little confidence was shown by a forlorn Dutch team as it made its way off the ground.
If you didn’t think that the Dutch could reach any lower depths with the bat (as they had done with the ball) how mistaken you would have been. It mustered a pathetic 92 all out with 29 of those runs coming from numbers 10 and 11.
Poor shot selection paired with an inability to focus on the job at hand hurt the dutch as for the second time in two days it crumpled to a demoralizing defeat.
Hong Kong was switched on from ball one and Rath continued his superb match with an inspired bowling spell to reduce the Netherlands to 7-52 in the 10th over. Rath finished with superb figures of 3-6 off two overs and was well backed up by off-spinner Ehsan Khan who collected 2-17 off 3.3 overs.
From there, it was all over and the Dutch did all they could to add some much needed respectability to the total.
With the Netherlands out of the Desert T20 semi-finals, attention turns to Hong Kong who will be hoping for a big Scotland win in its match against second-placed Oman in tonight’s other game. With Oman having a much higher NRR, it would take a big effort from the Scots to get Hong Kong through to the semi-finals.
Across in Group A action, Afghanistan and Ireland have already booked their tickets to the semi’s with the position on the table the only other deciding factor. Although only a blow out loss to bottom of the table Namibia would see the Afghani’s lose top spot.