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New Zealand 204 for 3 (Young 103*, Nicholls 57, Rippon 2-32) beat Netherlands 202 all out (Rippon 67, Seelaar 43, Tickner 4-50) by seven wickets
New Zealand hadn't played an ODI for over a year, had as many as 12 first-choice players plying their trade in the IPL, and were playing Netherlands in the format after 26 years. Still, debutant quick Blair Tickner, and top-order batters Will Young - who got to his maiden ODI century with an unbeaten 103 - and Henry Nicholls combined to ensure the hosts comfortably took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
After Tickner became the fourth New Zealand bowler to take four wickets on ODI debut to restrict the visitors to 202, Nicholls and Young kept New Zealand motoring along in a second-wicket stand of 162 before Nicholls fell for 57, as they completed the chase with more than 11 overs to spare.
Young got to his hundred after dancing down the pitch to loft over mid-off in what turned out to be the winning runs for his side. He had reached fifty off 54 balls in the 19th over, by which time he had slammed five fours and two sixes. Three of those fours came off successive deliveries in the eighth over off Logan van Beek: first a pull behind square, then a perfectly-timed push between cover and mid-off, and finally another pull but this time in front of square.
But the shot of the day came in the 18th over when Young skipped down the track to left-arm wristspinner Michael Rippon, and effortlessly lofted the ball for a big six over long-off. However, that remained the only boundary hit from the 11th to the 24th over, as Rippon and captain Pieter Seelaar kept things quiet.
While Rippon sent back Nicholls to break the massive stand, he also got Ross Taylor with a beauty: he tossed the ball up from around the wicket, inviting Taylor to drive, but the ball landed right in between his bat and pad, and spun back in to hit the stumps.
Earlier, it was the pair of Rippon and Seelaar that had rescued Netherlands with the bat after they were reduced to 45 for 5 by the New Zealand pacers at the end of the 13th over. Tickner had got two of those wickets, with one each having gone to Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry and Colin de Grandhomme.
Jamieson was the first to strike when he had Max O'Dowd gloving down the leg side to wicketkeeper Tom Latham in the third over of the innings, while three overs later, Henry had Stephan Myburgh edging to Martin Guptill at gully, where the latter took a good low catch. And while New Zealand's debutant shone with the ball, Netherlands' own debut batter Vikramjit Singh impressed with the bat, albeit only for a short while. Before becoming Tickner's maiden ODI wicket, left-hand batter Vikramjit had shown signs of a young Darren Bravo with his compact technique, hitting four pleasing boundaries on his way to 19.
He used soft hands to collect the first of those, before gently driving Henry down the ground and punching him with a short-arm jab through the covers for four. But from 41 for 2, Netherlands slipped further to lose another three wickets for as many runs as Tickner had Vikramjit caught at third man while Scott Edwards gifted a return catch to de Grandhomme, and Bas de Leede, whose father Tim was part of the only previous ODI meeting between the sides in 1996, also found third man off Tickner.
That is when the union between captain Seelaar and Rippon began. Happy to nudge and tuck the ball to keep the scoreboard ticking, they slowly but steadily took their side towards hundred, as legspinner Ish Sodhi and debutant allrounder Michael Bracewell kept things tight. Seelaar swept them once each for four, but when on 43, ended up tickling down leg off Tickner to end the 80-run partnership.
Rippon, who been pretty quiet until then, soon found the boundary and reached his half-century in the 45th over before being the last man out for 67. He kept dragging Netherlands by regularly running singles, and was involved in crucial partnerships with the tailenders to push his team to a respectable total. A cameo from van Beek and contributions from Philippe Boissevain took them past 200, but that would prove easily gettable for New Zealand in the end.