Netherlands top European Women’s Twenty20 competition
In a hard-fought and generally low-scoring Twenty20 competition on the European Women’s Championship opening day all three teams finished with a win and a defeat, but it was the Dutch hosts who came out on top on net run rate, thanks to a comfortable victory over Scotland.
Scotland had caused an initial upset by beating Ireland in the first game of the day, after Irish skipper Isobel Joyce had elected to bat after winning the toss. Ireland’s batters found the conditions difficult against a steady Scottish attack, and battled their way to 72 before they were dismissed in exactly 18 overs, only Joyce herself, with an enterprising 28-ball 29, gaining any real measure of control. Keeper Mary Waldron (16) was the only other Irishwoman to reach double figures, while Kari Anderson with three for 20 was the most successful of the Scottish bowlers. There were two wickets apiece for Kathryn White, Leigh Kasperek (whose four overs cost just six runs) and Lois Wilkinson.
Scotland found scoring equally difficult, with Kim Garth taking 1 for 4 for Ireland in her four overs and Amy Kenealy claiming two for 12. White top-scored with 23, but when she became Joyce’s third victim (for just 7 runs) the Scots faced an uphill battle.
Nine were still needed from the last two overs, but Fiona Urquhart took some of the pressure off with some calculated strokeplay, and in the end Scotland managed to take the winning single off the very last ball of the game, with two wickets in hand.
Ireland 72, 18 overs (I Joyce 29; K Anderson 3-20)
Scotland 73-8, 20 overs (I Joyce 3-7)
Scotland won by two wickets
The Netherlands became the only side to pass the hundred mark in the second match, Esther Lanser’s 35-ball 32 enabling them to reach 104 for 9 from their 20 overs. White, Anderson and Wilkinson claimed two more wickets each, but the batting quickly crumbled against the Dutch bowlers. It was the running between the wickets which was the real root of the Scots’ problems, however, and the Dutch fielders took full advantage, producing no fewer than five run-outs as Scotland were all out for 49 in 16.2 overs.
Two direct hits by Helmien Rambaldo removed openers Dianne Pedgrift and Catherine Smaill, and with Lanser, Laura Brouwers and Jolet Hartenhof making scoring difficult – Hartenhof having the remarkable figures of one for 1 from two overs – the running became increasingly desperate. Rambaldo took two for 13 from three overs of spin as Scotland subsided to a 55-run defeat.
Netherlands 104-9, 20 overs (E Lanser 32)
Scotland 49, 16.2 overs
Netherlands won by 55 runs
That set up the final match between Ireland and the hosts, and Rambaldo again elected to bat on winning the toss. But Ireland’s attack was much more effective this time, restricting the Netherlands to 89 for 8, Rambaldo herself leading the way with 31 from 40 deliveries. Thirteen-year-old leg spinner Elena Tice showed great promise in taking 3 for 22, and by removing both Rambaldo and Violet Wattenberg, who had put on 31 for the third wicket, she gave her side a great chance.
Garth (22) and Joyce (33) then seized the initiative with a 51-run opening stand – the only half-century partnership of the day – but once they were both run out the run rate slowed, and once again the chase extended into the final over. With plenty of wickets in hand, however, Laura Delany and Kenealy were able to pace their chase fairly comfortably, and the Dutch fielders were unable to stem the flow of runs which eventually saw Ireland home with two balls to spare.
Netherlands 89-8, 20 overs (H Rambaldo 31; E Tice 3-22)
Ireland 90-3, 19.4 overs (I Joyce 33, L Delany 17*, A Kenealy 11*)
Ireland won by 7 wickets
But with two very close finishes Ireland’s net run rate was unable to compete with the Netherlands’, and it was the home side which took the honours, with the Irish second and Scotland, despite their opening win over Ireland, having to settle for third place.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa