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Scotland, Netherlands look to seize rare opportunity

Scotland will play their first-ever World T20 qualifier final, while Netherlands will look to reprise their trophy winning run in 2008

Peter Borren goes on his toes to pull the ball, Ireland v Netherlands, World T20 Qualifier, 2nd semi-final, Malahide, July 25, 2015

Peter Borren's return to form has enhanced a Netherlands line-up that has surged on the form of its top order  •  ICC/Sportsfile

A dominant five-wicket win over Hong Kong took Scotland to their first-ever World T20 Qualifier final. Their previous best was a third-place finish in the 2008 edition, but now Preston Mommsen and his men have a chance to win the tournament. If they do so, it will be Scotland's second ICC Associate tournament title in as many years - they were champions in the 2014 World Cup Qualifier in February 2014.
The Hong Kong match was only the second time that Scotland had bowled an opposition out in the World T20 Qualifier. The other instance - against UAE - had been set up by their spinners. On Saturday, it was the seamers Alasdair Evans, Safyaan Sharif and Rob Taylor who picked up three wickets each to dismiss Hong Kong for a meager 116. Evans' 3 for 17 took him to 14 wickets from seven matches, joint with John Mooney and Bernard Scholtz as the tournament's leading wicket-takers.
Their batting has complemented the bowlers as well, with Kyle Coetzer leading the way at the top of the order. He and Matthew Cross ripped into the Hong Kong attack, racking up 52 runs in four overs, and took the Scotland's tally of fifty-partnerships in the tournament to nine. Coetzer has led a batting line-up that also has depth in the form of George Munsey, Preston Mommsen and Richie Berrington. Save for Berrington, the rest have scored more than 100 runs in the tournament, with Munsey and Cross striking fifties.
Scotland's opponents on Sunday are a little more familiar with a World T20 Qualifier final, having finished as joint winners in the 2008 edition. Their semi-final against Ireland was something of a grudge match, after Netherlands' phenomenal chase of 189 in 13.5 overs against Ireland in last year's World T20.
Things were much calmer this time, but the result remained the same. Netherlands bowlers, led by right-arm quick bowler Mudassar Bukhari's career-best 4 for 28 wrapped Ireland up for 128; the last six wickets falling for only 16 runs. Then Peter Borren, who has had a quiet tournament since hitting a match-winning fifty against Scotland in the group stages, found some form and sealed a five-wicket victory with an unbeaten 36.
Netherlands' top three - Stephan Myburgh, Wesley Barresi and Ben Cooper - have been among the tournament's most prolific batsmen. Four of their seven fifty-plus stands have been put together by the top three and among the teams currently in the competition, only Scotland's openers have added more runs - 229 to Netherlands' 189 - for the first wicket.
Their bowling charge has been led by Roelof van der Merwe and the pace pair of Bukhari and Timm van der Gugten. Both van der Merwe and Bukhari have 11 wickets while van der Gugten has claimed nine so far.
Netherlands' batsmen will carry fond memories of the group-stage clash against Scotland when Barresi's 75 and Borren's 57 lifted them to 191 for 6 - the third-highest total of the tournament - before Bukhari and van der Merwe took five wickets between them to dismiss Scotland for 159. It was one of the few times that Scotland's vaunted line-up failed at the tournament and they will be eager to avoid a repeat of that result on Sunday.