Netherlands earned themselves a place in the tournament final with a fine five-wicket victory over Scotland, with two full overs to spare. After a good start by their opponents, they fought back to restrict them severely, and then overcame a couple of sticky moments with the bat to reach the target in good time.
Netherlands won the toss and decided to bowl first, a trend that is taking over at this low-scoring tournament. Scotland's openers, however, made a mockery of the dismal starts achieved by most sides in recent matches, as Ryan Watson took Kyle Coetzer in first with him, and the pair quickly launched themselves into the type of opening partnership that is more to be expected in this type of cricket. It was mostly good clean hitting, with Coetzer lofting a six over long-on off Mudassar Bakhari in the third over.
After 10 overs, the score was 50 without loss, but five runs later Watson swung across the line and was bowled by Peter Borren for 22, off 27 balls. Coetzer and Navdeep Poonia then concentrated mainly on singles, which came off most balls, but the search for yet another led to the run-out of Coetzer for 40 (44 balls, 2 sixes and 4 fours).
Colin Smith quickly followed, holing out at long-on, but Pooniah and Gavin Hamilton settled for a sober partnership of accumulation with few extravagant strokes, aiming perhaps for a total of about 120, considering how difficult teams have found chasing smaller targets this tournament.
With two overs left, the total was 98 for 3, but then Hamilton, aiming at extravagance virtually for the first time, holed out on the leg side.
It takes so little to send a team on the slippery slope of disaster, and in quick succession Neil McCallum was caught at extra cover, also off Ryan ten Doeschate, and Poonia run out for 25. In moments the score had become 99 for 6. The final over saw Richie Berrington and Gordon Drummond run out and John Blain almost caught on the boundary off the final ball. The total was 107 for 8.
It is easy to say Scotland lost their way after such a good start, but by the weird standards of this particular tournament, even to reach 100 is quite an achievement. ten Doeschate, with 3 for 23, was the most successful bowler, but the most economical was the opener Edgar Schiferli, who conceded only 18 runs, bowling mostly during the dominant opening partnership.
Netherlands quickly lost Darron Reekers, caught at mid-on off a miscued pull. Twenty-nine runs came up in the first four overs without much more fuss from either side, the batsmen concentrating on frequent singles with only occasional slogs. At 50, in the ninth over, Tim de Grooth was caught at the wicket off Berrington for 24, and at the ten-over mark the score was 56 for 2.
Bokari, having scored most of his 9 runs off the edge, was caught at slip, but Eric Szwarczynski and ten Doeschate batted steadily, largely in singles, to take the score to 81, when the former had a rush of blood, trying a big hit to leg, only to have the resulting skyer caught by the keeper, having made 30. He was soon followed by Daan van Bunge, caught at slip without scoring. At 83 for 5, was another serious collapse taking place?
Borren, with two successive fours off Drummond, soon put paid to such nonsense. The end came quickly now, as ten Doeschate swung Majid Haq for six over square leg, and next ball followed it with a reverse-swept four to take Netherlands into the final. Eighteen runs came off that over - the sort of over that is more commonly expected in this type of cricket but so rarely seen at this tournament.
ten Doeschate was unbeaten with 24 off 18 balls, while Borren had 16 off 12. Blain and Berrington had two wickets each.
Netherlands v Scotland, World Twenty20 Qualifiers semi-final, Belfast