Record Netherlands stand forces Hong Kong to settle for draw
Netherlands 284 (van der Merwe 135) and 393 for 5 (Cooper 173*, Seelaar 138*) drew with Hong Kong 527 for 9 dec (Hayat 173, Kingma 4-125) and 263 for 6 dec (Rath 88)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Hong Kong's push for a final day win on their home first-class debut was thwarted by a record partnership by Netherlands batsmen Ben Cooper and Pieter Seelaar as the sides settled for a high-scoring draw at Tin Kwong Road. Set a target of 507 to win, Netherlands were 105 for 5 early on the last day after first-innings centurion Roelof van der Merwe and captain Peter Borren fell off successive balls in the 32nd over from medium pacer Ehsan Nawaz.
Cooper and Seelaar managed to bat out the final two-and-a-half sessions though, putting on a Netherlands first-class record partnership of an unbroken 288, for the sixth wicket. The country's previous best was a 232-run stand between Bas Zuiderant and Ryan ten Doeschate in a 64-run win over UAE in 2008. It was also a record sixth-wicket stand in the Intercontinental Cup, breaking the sixth-wicket mark of 234 set by Ireland's Andre Botha and Alex Cusack in a drawn match against Scotland in 2007, and the sixth highest partnership for any wicket in the 13-year history of the competition. Both men notched their maiden first-class centuries as Cooper finished on 173 in only his second first-class match while Seelaar ended unbeaten on 138. His best in 40 prior first-class innings had been 81 not out.
Hong Kong had looked set for victory after securing a 243-run first-innings lead. Captain Babar Hayat posted his second century in his fourth first-class match, his 173 leading the way in a total of 527 for 9 after Hong Kong had been asked to bat. Hayat was involved in three century partnerships - with Chris Carter, Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath - to put the visitors on the back foot.
Netherlands efforts in the field were impacted by an injury to quick Timm van der Gugten, who was missing in action after hurting his shoulder diving in the field following his initial seven-over spell to open day one. Fellow new-ball seamer Vivian Kingma took up responsibility in the absence of van der Gugten, bowling 35 overs to finish with 4 for 125.
Van der Merwe scored his first four-day century for Netherlands, and fifth overall, making 135 off 149 balls in Netherlands' reply of 284. Hayat chose not to enforce the follow-on early on day three, his bowlers having spent 18.2 overs in the field on the morning of day three to get Netherlands out after 47 overs on day two.
Hong Kong batted another 53 overs to post 263 for 6 declared as Rath top-scored with 88, his second half-century in the match to follow up his 98 not out in the first innings. The declaration was made with an hour to go on day three and Tanwir Afzal struck on the second ball of the chase, removing Stephan Myburgh for a duck. Fellow opener Max O'Dowd fell for 22 to Nawaz less than three overs before stumps as Netherlands entered the last day on 48 for 2 in 16 overs, facing another 96 overs to save an unlikely draw but one they accomplished thanks to personal bests from Cooper and Seelaar.
The 1467 runs in the match made it the third-highest scoring match in Intercontinental Cup history. Netherlands 393 for 5 is the second-highest fourth innings total in the history of the Intercontinental Cup - behind only Afghanistan's 494 for 4 in a win over Canada in 2010 - as well as the most overs batted out to secure a draw with 111. The most overs batted out prior to this match to secure a draw in an Intercontinental Cup match was also achieved by the Netherlands, against Canada in 2009, when they survived 103 overs to end the match eight down. Seelaar also played a role in that result, batting out 17 balls at No. 10 to deny Canada victory.
Hong Kong took nine points from the match, claiming extra points after securing a first-innings lead but remained fifth on the Intercontinental Cup table with 39 points, though they closed the gap to one point with Papua New Guinea in fourth. Netherlands earned three points for the draw and continued to sit in third at 49 points behind Ireland and Afghanistan.