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Netherlands 146 for 4 (Zuiderent 43*, Kervezee 39) beat Canada 142 for 7 (Billcliff 37, Seelaar 2-18) by six wickets
Netherlands began their campaign at the World Twenty20 Qualifiers with a six-wicket win over Canada at the Dubai International stadium. Netherland's batting echoed their strong allround bowling performance, as Bas Zuiderent built on a solid 57-run opening partnership to guide his side home in the 20th over with an unbeaten 43.
Canada soon had reason to rue their decision to bat first this afternoon, as John Davison drove Edgar Schiferli uppishly and into the hands of a diving Tom de Grooth at cover in the first over. Rizwan Cheema then edged Mudassar Bukhari onto his own helmet attempting a pull and was forced to retire injured.
After these early setbacks, Hiral Patel - the 18-year-old batsman whose unbeaten 88 powered Canada's win over Ireland in the Associates T20 Series prior to this tournament - combined well with Geoff Barnett, adding 60 in quick time to steady the Canadian innings. Barnett, who was particularly strong off the front foot today, opened his innings with three fours off Schiferli and dominated the partnership with some aggressive strokeplay.
Barnett was unafraid to loft anything pitched up to him over the off side, but ultimately paid the price for his confidence as he picked out de Grooth on the cover boundary off the left-arm spin of Pieter Seelaar. Patel fell in the very next over to a stunning catch by Daan van Bunge off his own bowling, but Ian Billcliff carried on the momentum with a belligerent 37 on Twenty20 debut. Canada's innings fizzled out after his dismissal, and they will have been disappointed to have scored only 142 after an enterprising effort from their middle order.
Alexei Kervezee and Eric Szwarczynski smashed six boundaries between them in the first 13 balls of Netherlands' chase, and had raced to 50 in the first five overs before Khurram Chohan clung on to a chance at mid off to get rid of Szwarczynski. Kervezee then failed to pick up John Davison's doosra and was neatly stumped by Bagai, but with the required run rate under a run-a-ball, Zuiderent and Peter Borren had time to play themselves in.
After Borren's run out, Ryan ten Doeschate gave Zuiderent admirable support with a breezy 17, and though he fell off the final ball of the penultimate over, Zuiderent sealed the win by lofting a full toss from Chohan to the long off boundary. After a day of upsets in which USA and UAE prevailed in their games against more experienced opposition, the result here was the expected one and Netherlands will take some confidence into their fixture tomorrow.
Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.