Netherlands beat Scotland, but fall short of automatic qualification on NRR

Netherlands 131 for 6 (ten Doeschate 51*, Watt 3-18) beat Scotland 130 for 8 (Cross 52) by four wickets

A disciplined bowling display laid the platform for another convincing victory for Netherlands over Scotland by four wickets at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday afternoon. But needing to chase a target of 131 in 12.3 overs to surpass Papua New Guinea on the tournament’s net run-rate tiebreaker for first place and an automatic trip to the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, Netherlands could only reach 106 for 6 meaning they must now win a crossover playoff to clinch one of the four remaining berths for Australia out of the T20 World Cup Qualifier.

With the PNG squad watching from the second tier balcony following their win earlier in the day over Kenya, captain Pieter Seelaar’s bowlers backed up his decision to chase at the toss in light of the net run-rate scenario by restricting Scotland to 130 for 8. But Scotland’s medium pacers dented the Dutch reply badly in the Powerplay. Tobias Visee fell on the fifth ball of the reply skying to mid-off, while Max O’Dowd slapped to mid-on in the fourth before Ben Cooper chased a wide ball to edge behind in the sixth, leaving the score 39 for 3 after six overs.

At 55 for 3 in eight, Ryan ten Doeschate and Colin Ackermann produced a stirring rally with 35 runs across the next two overs. Ten Doeschate pulled Alasdair Evans twice over midwicket for six while Ackermann drove Richie Berrington for six over long-off then scooped a boundary over the keeper to bring the equation down to 41 in 15 balls to overtake PNG.

But as he has done all tournament, Mark Watt made key breakthroughs in the middle overs. After conceding just four runs in the eighth, he struck twice in the 11th, bowling Ackermann and inducing a skied flick from Roelof van der Merwe to MacLeod at long-on for a third-ball duck. When Seelaar was given out stumped on the 12.3 over mark, the score was just 101 for 6 as the PNG squad erupted on the balcony, knowing they had just secured their first ever trip to the T20 World Cup.

Ten Doeschate eventually carried the Dutch across the line with three overs to spare after reaching a half-century off 34 balls. It was the 39-year-old’s second of the tournament after a key knock in a win over Namibia.

Scotland’s innings got off to a difficult start after a brilliant tactical plan came off to near perfection from Seelaar and Ackermann. The captain gave the allrounder the new ball to bowl his offspin at George Munsey, who had been tearing offspinners apart all tournament with the reverse sweep. But a very square deep third man was put in place to deny the boundary option. After hitting an orthodox sweep for four to the first ball he faced from Ackermann, Munsey was bowled second ball and left shaking his head.

Matthew Cross was promoted up to No. 3 in the absence of Oli Hairs, who was ruled out of the tournament with a broken bone in his right foot, and produced a 41-ball fifty. But he struggled for support at the other end as Scotland lost wickets in clumps. Kyle Coetzer (17) and MacLeod (1) fell in the eighth and ninth overs, the latter to an lbw decision in which replays showed a clear inside edge.

Berrington, Michael Leask and Craig Wallace all fell in consecutive overs from the 14th to the 16th to leave Cross struggling for options to tag-team for a late surge before Cross departed in the 17th as Scotland stuttered to the end of their innings. Seelaar was named Man of the Match as much for his captaincy as for his 2 for 12, claiming Coetzer and Wallace.

Netherlands now await the results of Group B to find out who their opponent will be in the 2 v 3 crossover playoff. Three options are possible – Oman, UAE and Canada – depending on the result of UAE’s match against Canada and the net run rate tiebreaker.

Scotland, meanwhile, will play the loser of 2nd vs 3rd in Group B in a winner-takes-all playoff on Wednesday. Dylan Budge, the allrounder, has replaced the injured Hairs in the squad.

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