Jake Perry reports
Netherlands 184-4 (SL Kalis 88, S Ramautar 1 for 26) beat USA 148-5 (OT Wallerson 40*, L Klokgieters 2 for 32) by 36 runs
To the accompanying strain of bagpipes as the annual Stirling Highland Games got underway nearby the much-anticipated encounter between USA and the Netherlands at the ICC Women’s World T20 Europe/Americas Qualifier finally played out. It was a game which had taken on added significance as defeat to Scotland then the weather had ensured that the quest for the one remaining place at the Global Qualifier for the 2018 showpiece would become a winner-takes-all affair.
A superb 88 from Netherlands all-rounder Sterre Kalis was to propel her side to a 36-run victory as despite a late flourish from Onika Wallerson the rawness of the USA was to show in an inconsistent display in the field. Kalis chipped in with a wicket, too, as a much-improved performance from Sean Trouw’s team put their loss to the Scots earlier in the week behind them.
After two days without play the second reserve day had offered one last opportunity to complete the four matches required to constitute a tournament, and after the original pitch had been deemed unplayable a decision was taken late on Thursday to switch the remaining games to the second pitch at New Williamfield. Thanks to the Stirling County ground staff play began only half an hour behind schedule but with rain beginning to fall once more conditions on the field remained highly challenging.
Having been put into bat the Netherlands openers Kalis and Babette de Leede made a skittish start against the USA seamers as de Leede was dropped at point before a run-out opportunity was missed as Candacy Atkins slipped on the greasy surface. The two were soon into their stride, however, with Kalis helping herself to back-to-back boundaries off Neha Anand and de Leede finding the rope off Triholder Marshall.
Although Marshall was to have the final word as de Leede’s swing-and-miss saw her bowled for 17 the Netherlands were looking ominous, however, and Kalis hit the first maximum of the tournament by hoisting Wallerson over square. The opener added another as she raced past fifty, and with Cher van Slobbe (14) and then Heather Siegers providing support aggressive running and regular boundaries saw the Netherlands pass 150 at the beginning of the 18th over.
Kalis had played a terrific knock, fully deserving of a hundred, but immediately after striking her fourth six of the innings a mix-up with Siegers ended with her run out. Kalis’s 55 ball 88 had given her side the platform they had so badly lacked against Scotland,though, and with the young Dutch captain (51*) reaching her half century too, the Netherlands total of 184-4 always looked like too many.
It had been a difficult morning for the USA. Dropped catches and misfields had proved costly and with spinner Claudine Beckford overstepping three times in a final over which cost 21, too, Sindhu Sriharsa’s side left the field knowing that they had not helped their own cause.
The Netherlands bowling attack had hardly aided theirs against Scotland, though, and USA opener Shebani Bhaskar immediately signaled her attacking intentions with a six off the second ball. Early American hopes were dashed as the Netherlands quickly struck back with a double breakthrough, however, as first Bhaskar (8) was brilliantly caught by Helmien Rambaldo before a diving Sriharsa (1) was narrowly run out as the Dutch remained firmly in control.
At 18-2 Nadia Gruny and Erica Rendler picked up the chase well, taking their side beyond fifty at the end of the Powerplay – and ahead of their opponents at the same stage – but when they also fell in quick succession, Rendler (40) run out before Gruny (30) skied to the wicketkeeper, any lingering hopes of an American comeback had been dashed.
“I am really proud of the team and that we did it today,” said Player of the Match Sterre Kalis.
“It was the most important game for us and that we won it was perfect.”
“In the beginning the pitch was very soft and a bit wet but the ground staff did really well. After a whole week of rain it was amazing that we could play the game and we’re hoping to end the tournament with another good performance against Scotland later.”
Jake Perry writes on Scottish cricket for Cricket Scotland and CricketEurope and is a regular contributor to HoldingWilley.