Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Eighteenth Post : Scotland v. The Netherlands, Game One, Match Report.

On the Hottest day of the Scottish summer so for this year the Netherlands flew in and rained on Scotland's parade pulling off a convincing 44 run victory.
It shouldn't have been that way of course. Scotland have recently emerged from an extended rebuilding period and proved they were a team on the rise by winning the world cup qualifier to book their place in Australia and New Zealand world cup 2015. Winning all but one game in that tournament saw them emerge victors with a new sense of confidence and purpose.
The Dutch, meanwhile, had a disaster of a tournament that ended with them failing to qualify for the world cup, knocked out early, and worst of all, losing their One Day Status. The dark days ahead briefly brightened by success in the world T-20 a few months later.
But that was a different game, a different day. This was Scotland's chance to show the home fans their resurgence and shine.

It all started so well with the opening partnership of Coetzer and MacLeod solidly chasing the Netherlands adequate, but by no means insurmountable, total of 252 for 9.
Scotland's opening partnership earnt 38 before captain Coetzer was out playing at one away from his body and finding the edge to be brilliantly caught behind in a one handed diving catch.
Hamish Gardiner was next in and he and  MacLeod set about continuing the good start but it was the partnership between Gardiner and Mommsen that looked to put Scotland on easy street. Their flawless partnership earnt 78 before both were out in quick succession (Gardiner for 52 off 64, Mommsen for 45 off 59) and Scotland had to rebuild.
It was a process that faltered quicker than it started with the middle order failing to come to grips with a Dutch attack that captain Borren kept shuffling around expertly.
From 157/2 to all out for 208 the Scottish middle order and tail had no answer to the persistent and niggly Dutch bowlers who never gave up the task of closing out the game.
They eventually did so with six overs to spare with Bukhari 3 for 29 (9 overs) and Van Meekeren 3 for 40 (10 overs) crushed any Scots hopes of a Bannockburn style victory with ease.

It all looked so different earlier in the day as the Scots made inroads into the Dutch batting order at regular intervals. only opener Swart passed 50 (ending with 62 from off 84 balls) and his partnership with of 74 with number 3, Szwarczynski, was the pick of an innings where partnerships where hard to find.
Evans broke down with back problems after only 5.1 overs but the rest of the bowlers rallied round to keep the Dutch from ever really racing away.
Davie and Leask ended with 2 wickets apiece but Leask leaked runs (55 of 9 overs) while the pick of the bowlers was Sharif who looked the most likely to take wickets at any time while also conceded few runs and ended with 1 for 33 from his 10 overs. unfortunately no Scottish bowler managed to give the Dutch the killer blow and despite having them down to 165 for 7 in the 40th over allowed the tail to crawl along, guided by Rippon's 49 not out, to add nearly 75 runs to finish on a fighting 252 for 9. Scotland still failing to bowl them out.

It was a lesson in durability and determination that the Scots should have A. stamped out and B. learnt a lesson from.
The 44 run defeat shows they did neither.

Tomorrow's forecast is for more clear skies, but which team will the sun shine on?

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