Netherlands v PNG, World Cup Qualifiers, Harare March 10, 2018

Netherlands stay afloat with comfortable victory

ESPNcricinfo staff

Netherlands 216 for 8 (Zulfiqar 53*, Dai 2-29, Amini 2-36) beat PNG 159 (Vala 44, van der Merwe 4-46) by 57 runs

© Peter Della Penna

Netherlands needed to win this game, while also improving their net run rate as much as possible, to have any chance of staying in contention for a place in World Cup 2019. They did most of that. After making 216 for 8, they bowled Papua New Guinea out for 159 to win by 57 runs. Now, they will have to beat West Indies - once again, by as big a margin as possible - then hope other results go their way.

For a while, it seemed that Netherlands would get exactly the result they wanted - that is, victory by a huge margin - as PNG slid from 45 for 1 to 93 for 7. Netherlands' plans took a hit, though, as PNG's lower order, in the company of Kiplin Doriga, kept chipping away at the runs required to give their total some respectability. Eventually, they finished on 159, with Roelof van der Merwe doing most damage with his left-arm spin. That might not have been the margin of victory Netherlands were after, but it was still two points in the bag.

The result was hardly a given when Netherlands suffered a top-order collapse of their own, going from 57 for no loss to 98 for 5. It took a lower-order counterattack to drag them past 200. The leaders of this late charge were van der Merwe (38 off 41), Pieter Seelaar (23 off 18) and Sikander Zulfiqar, who with an unbeaten 53 off 65, registered his second List A half-century.

While the PNG bowlers shared the wickets around, the legspin of Charles Amini and Mahuru Dai proved most restrictive; they went at under four an over in picking up two wickets apiece. It turned out that was not enough. PNG head home from the World Cup Qualifiers without a win in four games.

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