The Netherlands sealed their semi-final berth for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier ‘B’ in emphatic fashion as they beat Uganda by a whopping 97-run margin, their second-highest in T20I history, at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
Tom Cooper (81*) and Max O’Dowd (73) combined for a 121-run partnership for the third wicket to set Uganda 188 to win. Left-arm quick Fred Klaassen (5-19) bagged his maiden T20 five-wicket haul to restrict Uganda to a paltry 90-9 and continue the Men in Orange’s unbeaten run in their bid to punch their ticket to Australia.
Earlier in the day, Uganda won the toss and chose to bowl first. The Dutch swapped Paul van Meekeren for Aryan Dutt to bolster their spin-bowling options.
Opener Stephan Myburgh was dismissed for a six-ball duck, caught at mid-on off Frank Nsubuga, the 41-year-old off-spinner. Max O’Dowd continued his fine run of form to milk boundaries through the cover and later joined hands with Cooper after Bas de Leede’s dismissal in the seventh over.
The duo batted largely untroubled, barring Cooper being dropped by Frank Akankwasa off his own bowling. O’Dowd brought up his ninth T20I half-century, hitting ten boundaries, as Cooper changed gears at the other end to notch his first T20I half-century in six years.
Cooper was particular brutal in right-arm quick Bilal Hassan’s 18th over. He scooped him over short fine leg for back-to-back boundaries and two balls later, reverse scooped him over the third man boundary for a six before slapping a good length delivery to the deep mid-wicket fence.
He struck eleven boundaries and two sixes in an unbeaten 42-ball 82 to help the Dutch finish with a formidable 187-3.
In response, Uganda got off to the worst possible start as they lost two wickets off the first two balls. Roger Mukasa chopped on first ball off Fred Klaassen’s back-of-a-length delivery before the southpaw swung a full delivery back into Ronak Patel’s stumps to bowl him for a duck.
In his next over, he returned to snare Simon Sesazi’s outside edge caught comfortably by Cooper at first slip. Two balls later, Klaassen was successful in an LBW appeal to reduce Uganda to 7-4 inside three overs. They slid further to 22-5 in the fifth over as stand-in captain Kenneth Waiswa miscued a pull shot to short backward square leg to hand Klaassen a five-for.
Dinesh Nakrani and Riazat Ali Shah held fort for a 36-run stand albeit off 50 deliveries. The duo were stumped off spinners Dutt and Shariz Ahmed as the boundaries dried up. Eventually, Uganda finished on 90-9 managing just four boundaries and two sixes as the Dutch sealed their semi-final spot.
The Netherlands will lock horns with United States of America in the semi-final tomorrow and Uganda will play Jersey in the 5th place playoff.