The Netherlands secured their third World T20 appearance on Tuesday thanks to a four-wicket victory over Namibia.
Despite defeats to Afghanistan and Oman in the Group Stage, the Dutch side finished second in their group on net run rate, behind Scotland, and thus was given the opportunity to reach the 2016 World T20 in India against the southern African side in the 2nd Qualifying Play-Off.
Most of the Namibians’ success in the Group Stages was due to their opening pair of Stephan Baard, who made 243 runs in six innings at an average of 60.75, and Gerrie Snyman, whose 192 runs had come at a strike-rate of 164.1; after winning the toss and electing to bat, their skipper Nicolaas Scholtz would have been hoping for another strong contribution from that partnership.
However, the innings’ second ball was disastrous for Namibia; Baard clipped Michael Swart’s delivery to Mudassar Bukhari at square leg, and held his ground at the striker’s end, whilst Snyman hared off looking for a non-existent single. After being sent back by his partner, Snyman was run out at the non-striker’s end without having faced a ball; at 0/1 off two balls, Namibia’s start was nothing short of disastrous.
Baard didn’t hang around for long either; he was dismissed in the second over of the innings after top-edging a Timm van der Gugten delivery to short cover, leaving the handful of Namibians who had made the journey to Dublin shell-shocked.
Raymond van Schoor and Craig Williams (43) began to undergo a re-building job in the middle of the innings, but the former could not find the boundary anywhere near as often as he would have like, eventually being dismissed for a 25-ball 16.
Tight bowling from the two Peters, Borren (1-14) and Seelaar (0-7) in the middle overs put Namibia in a difficult position, but a pair of sixes off new Somerset signing Roelof van der Merwe by Nick Scholtz (37 off 23) in the 17th over gave the Africans hope with regards to reaching a defendable score.
NETHERLANDS QUALIFY FOR WORLD T20
— ICC (@ICC) July 21, 2015
However, van der Gugten remained economical at the death, and 135/6 always looked a below-par score. The Netherlands’ response got off to the worst possible start. A leg-stump half-volley from Snyman should have been dispatched for four by ‘keeper Wesley Barresi, but the Johannesburg-born 31-year-old succeeded only in top-edging the ball straight to JP Kotze behind the stumps. Six boundaries by Stephan Myburgh in the powerplay overs meant that the required run-rate was always low for the Dutch, and despite Jason Davidson having him caught at the end of the fifth over, the explosive top-order batsman had already made 31 off 18 by that point. Borren, Swart and Ben Cooper steadied the ship in the middle overs, adding 16, 28 and 18 respectively, all at a strike-rate close to 100. Slow left-armer Bernard Scholtz impressed with his accurate line and length, taking 3-15 in his four overs, and at the end of his spell, 32 were required from 30 balls with five wickets in hand; surely the Netherlands couldn’t choke from here? Fortunately, the calm heads of Max O’Dowd and van der Merwe appeared to have steered the Netherlands to victory with a stand of 31, leaving them just three to win from the final over. Hearts were in mouths when van der Merwe was bowled by a Nic Scholtz leg-break off the first ball, but Bukhari whacked his first delivery for four to send the Dutch players on the sidelines into raptures. Namibia will still have a chance to qualify; they now play Oman on Thursday, in a winner-takes-all clash which will decide qualification. Meanwhile, the Dutch go into the semi-final of the competition against Ireland on Saturday, in which they will sense the chance to win the qualifier.
Another opportunity to beat England in the World T20 for the Netherlands!
— Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) July 21, 2015