Logan van Beeks hat-trick, ODowds 45 lead Hong Kongs seven-wicket rout

By Malhar Hathi

An all-round bowling performance from the Men in Oranje, led by Logan van Beeks 4-27, which included a hat-trick, made it two wins from two games for the Netherlands, nearly confirming their semi-final spot, as they consigned a listless Hong Kong-side to their second defeat by seven wickets at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

Opting to bat first, the Hong Kong batters hardly gathered any momentum as they lost wickets at regular intervals.

It was as much down to the bounce-back ability of the Dutch quicks as it was the greed of the Hong Kong batters that led to the downfall of Aizaz Khan and Babar Hayat in the powerplay. The duo fell to attempted pull shots off hard length deliveries after hitting a boundary or a six, in Hayats case, the ball before.

Barring captain Nizakat Khans laborious 55-ball 60, none of the other batters scored more than 13. There were maiden T20I wickets for the Dutch spinners Shariz Ahmed and Tim Pringle. Ahmed, the leg-spinner, accounted for Kinchit Shah at long off and left-arm spinner, Pringle, who was left a touch dejected after Zeeshan Ali was dropped in the 15th over, had his moment of glory when Ali looked to loft him inside out but fell to a leaping catch at short mid-off by Stephan Myburgh to leave Hong Kong reeling at 96-5.

Soon, the subcontinental side crashed from 116-6 to being all out without adding a run in the space of five deliveries. Van Beek picked up his first T20 hat-trick in the 18th over when Khan chipped a slower delivery to a diving Myburgh followed by identical LBWs plumb in front to account for Scott McKechnie and Ehsan Khan for nought.

In response, the Dutch openers batted largely untroubled, barring a straight ball from Aizaz Khan that hit the top of off stump to dismiss Myburgh with the first ball of the third over. Thereon, Max ODowd and Bas de Leede regularly found the boundaries to stitch a rapid 64-run stand.

Hong Kong bowlers, especially medium-pacer Haroon Arshad and left-arm spinner Yasim Murtaza, struggled for control and consistency as they either offered too much width or pitched too full. ODowd took full toll of it as he crashed 8 boundaries, the majority through the covers, and a six, but fell five short of his half-century, LBW after opting to reverse sweep a full ball from off-spinner Ehsan Khan in the ninth over.

De Leede (36*) and Tom Cooper continued the assault on Hong Kong spinners. Khan returned again to pin Cooper (20) plumb in front with just one run to win in the 14th over and Scott Edwards, the Dutch captain, knocked it off to seal a comprehensive win with as many as 40 balls remaining.

I thought it was a real team effort, player-of-the-match Logan van Beek said after the game. We have got a mastermind of a captain in Scott Edwards and we got to chip in at various points and it was nice to get a reward of the last two months of toil against the bigger nations.

The teams will return to action on Thursday when Netherlands will take on Uganda in their final league phase game with an aim to consolidate the top spot and Hong Kong will be eyeing to finish with a win against Papua New Guinea.