Scotland trump hosts in nail-biter
Scotland prevailed in a nerve-wracking contest against hosts Netherlands, winning off the penultimate ball with one wicket in hand in Amstelveen. Their chase of 235 had been dealt a serious blow when the first six wickets fell for 121, but the lower order set about pulling things back.
The recovery was led by Moneeb Iqbal, who struck a patient 63 and guided his team towards the target. He was supported by Matthew Parker in a stand of 52 and Gordon Drummond, with whom Iqbal added just as many for the eighth wicket. With 10 needed off 13 balls, Scotland had the edge but Netherlands turned things around with two wickets off the next three balls, including Iqbal. But Drummond held his nerve during an unbeaten 33, along with No.11 Ross Lyons, to see his team through. Their cause was helped by the opposition who lost their nerve in the dying stages.
Tom de Grooth dropped Drummond off the penultimate delivery of the match with Scotland still requiring three runs. The batsmen crossed for a single Mark Jonkman bowled a wide next ball that leveled the scores. The batsmen still ran across, thinking it was the final delivery of the match and when the ball was relayed to Jonkman at the bowler's end he missed the stumps from close range to concede the winning run.
Netherland's competitive total was set up by half-centuries from Tom Cooper (87) and Bas Zuiderent, who smashed an unbeaten 55 off 34 balls to boost his team in the death overs. But, as it turned out, their efforts were inadequate.
Drummond was delighted with his side's thrilling win. "It was a fantastic victory considering the position we were in at 80-odd for five. It shows the character of the team. We did the same against India A last week. We just never give up and can put on partnerships down the order.
"As soon as we got to about 190 for 7, I thought we were in a decent position as we still had the Powerplay to come and there would be more gaps in the field as a result. We could always get 35 from five overs in that Powerplay but then we lost two quick wickets and it could have gone either way at the end," said Drummond who was full of praise for Moneeb.
A collective bowling effort and a solid opening performance from Paul Stirling kicked off defending champions Ireland's World Cricket League Division 1 campaign on a successful note in Rotterdam.
Their opponents Kenya, fresh from a stand-off with their board regarding player contracts, were skittled for 163, before Stirling (87), supported by an unbeaten 59 from Alex Cusack, ensured a comfortable chase. For Ireland, Trent Johnson and Cusack grabbed two wickets each to help scupper a steady Kenyan start. Alex Obanda and Collins Obuya had forged a 44-run stand for the third wicket, but the bowlers struck to bag the last eight wickets for just 60 runs.
In response, Stirling and Cusack combined in a 127-run stand for the second wicket to crush Kenya's hopes and seal a seven-wicket win. Stirling was adjudged Man of the Match for his effort. "I'm happy to be among the runs so early in the tournament. It's important that you set the trend with your performance and I think we have done that today," he said.
"I enjoyed batting out there and though I couldn't score what would have been my first ODI century, I have no regrets. We were chasing a small score because we bowled very well. I thought the more you stayed at the wicket, the easier the batting got."
Afghanistan put in an admirable batting display to overcome a challenging target of 258 set by Canada in Voorburg. Captain Nawroz Mangal led the charge with an unbeaten 70, off just 58 balls, and the innings was also supported by half-centuries from opener Noor Ali and Mohammad Shahzad. Noor and Shahzad were involved in a 87-run stand, though both fell in quick succession. Afghanistan recovered quickly from those jolts, thanks to an attacking knock from their captain, who ensured victory was achieved with eight balls to spare.
Canada's innings had been shored up by their own captain Ashish Bagai, who top scored with 82, and some aggression in the late overs. Afghanistan didn't help their own cause by conceding 34 extras, but their batsmen saw off the Canadian bowlers comfortably.