Netherlands 174 for 4 (Barresi 44, ten Doeschate 38, Rippon 38*) v Nepal - Match abandoned
After a month-long heat wave across the UK, the weather gods decided to play a prank on a pair of Associate nation guests making their long-awaited return to Lord's. In the T20 tri-series played by hosts MCC, Nepal and Netherlands, rain was the ultimate winner as a pair of scheduled 20-over matches between the MCC and each Associate were reduced to six-over affairs before the finale between Nepal and Netherlands ended with a no result after 16.4 overs.
For Netherlands, this was their first T20I at Lord's since the 2009 World T20, where they pulled off one of their greatest triumphs against England. Two years ago, Nepal had made their 50-over Lord's debut against the MCC in front of more than 5000 fans. Despite it being on a weekend, just over 2000 fans turned up to Lord's on this day as the majority of fans around the UK were scared off by damp weather, a scarce occurrence all July.
Fans who did show up were treated to an impressive Dutch batting display through much of the afternoon. Making use of the short east side boundary on offer thanks to a pitch chosen near the end of the Lord's square, Wesley Barresi powered the Netherlands with an impressive 44 off 24 balls after entering at No. 3. His innings included six fours as well as an exquisitely timed six driven over cover off medium pacer Sompal Kami.
Barresi added 54 for the third wicket with Ryan ten Doeschate and when Barresi departed near the end of the ninth over, it was ten Doeschate who dazzled with a series of elegant flicks over mid on. Playing his first T20I in more than eight years, the ageless wonder spent his day off from Essex captaincy showing he hasn't lost his touch at international level one bit as he cruised to 38 off 27 balls.
A rain break after 12 overs broke Netherlands' momentum. They resumed at 112 for 3 with two overs shaved off the match and two balls later ten Doeschate was run out thanks to a brilliant charge, scoop and fire by Dipendra Singh Airee from backward point.
Michael Rippon showed how much he was missed at the World Cup Qualifier by dismantling Nepal's spinners on his way to 38 not out off 22 balls. Shane Edwards was just as relentless, swatting an unbeaten 34 off 14 that included three fours and back-to-back sixes off star legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane in the 16th. He was the most expensive bowler on the day, finishing with 0 for 43 in three overs.
Captain Paras Khadka vigorously dried the ball with a towel after nearly every delivery in a vain attempt to make it easier for Lamichhane and the other spinners to grip in the midst of a steady drizzle. A short time later, the drizzle turned into a thick shower and it became clear that play would be difficult to continue. When Rippon backed out of a delivery with the wind and rain blowing in his face midway through the 17th over, that became the final signal and the umpires took everyone off one ball later with Netherlands' innings declared finished at 174 for 4.
Despite hopes of a restart, officials called off play more than an hour before the official cutoff time as the forecast for the rest of the evening remained bleak. Nepal's players shook hands with the Dutch, then continued on to the edge of the stands to show thanks to their supporters. With many having traveled from as far as the USA and even Nepal to take in the occasion, a selfie with Khadka, Lamichhane and the rest was just as good as a six.