Netherlands won the first match of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament with a good victory over Kenya by 19 runs. Their star performer was the South African-born Ryan ten Doeschate, the Man of the Match with a top score of 56 and impressive bowling figures of 3 for 27.
At nine o'clock this morning it looked unlikely that the match would be able to take place, or indeed the other two scheduled for today, as the rain was falling steadily as it had done for much of the last twelve hours. But there was a remarkable transformation as the sun suddenly appeared, the groundstaff did a superb job in clearing up, and though pampered Test players might have protested, the associate members were only too keen to take the field.
Kenya won the toss and put Netherlands in to bat. Play opened only 25 minutes late, for the full 20 overs, in sunshine and in front of a crowd approaching 100 in number. Netherlands made a steady start, with Darron Reekers the more attacking of the openers, until, with 13 off Peter Ongondo's first over, they reached 49 off the sixth over. Then left-arm spinner Hiren Varaiya came on and immediately had Reekers stumped for 29 off 26 balls.
Eric Szwarczynski, South African by birth, was his opening partner, beginning slowly but then making 28 off 25 balls before driving a simple return catch to Varaiya. ten Doeschate and Daan van Bunge pushed on the score with some hectic running, and Kenya missed a stumping and at least one run-out opportunity. After 10 overs they were a promising 80 for 2. Variaya finished four overs with 2 for 24, but the offspinner Jimmy Kamande travelled for 11 off four balls before he had van Bunge stumped for 12; 111 for 3 after 14 overs.
ten Doeschate flourished, swinging two big leg-side sixes, but could not quite break loose in the final overs. Overs 18 and 19 yielded only seven runs. His fifty came in the last over, off 43 balls; he then hit a high six over midwicket before being caught at long-on for 56 trying to repeat the shot next ball. The innings closed at 153 for 5. Thomas Odoyo, conceding 16 off four overs, was the most economical bowler.
Edgar Schiferli almost struck for Netherlands in his first over, having Kennedy Obuya edging a catch to the slips - only for the umpire to call no-ball. Mudassar Bukhari's first over yielded 12 as Obuya and Morris Ouma were unafraid to hit the ball in the air as they attacked with panache. But it couldn't last, and Ouma holed out on the leg boundary for 13 off 11 balls. Otieno soon followed for 13, falling into a trap set for him at short fine leg, and after that Kenya became rather bogged down, with Bukhari able to complete his overs for just 20 runs.
At the 10-over mark, Kenya had only 60 on the board, 20 behind Netherlands at the same stage. Steve Tikolo, despite playing some good shots, did not really look in good form, and after 13 overs (83 for 3) the required rate went above 10. Tikolo now holed out at long-off for 37 off 33 balls, leaving only Odoyo capable of producing a miracle.
Fifty four were needed off the last four overs, and then Odoyo (17) clubbed to long-off to make defeat as inevitable as anything can be in this game.
Collins Obuya did his best to achieve the miracle, with two sixes in 16 off six balls, as did the other tailenders, and at least Kenya went down with guns blazing, finishing with 134 for 9. ten Doeschate took wickets with the last two balls of the innings, contributing to his good figures, but it was Schiferli, with 3 for 23, who took the first three wickets and broke the back of the innings.