Netherlands keep hopes alive in Intercontinental Cup campaign
The Netherlands kept its slim hopes of qualifying for the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup alive when it defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 64 runs on the fourth and last day at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
The Netherlands faced two balls on the fourth morning without adding to its overnight score of 343-9 to set the UAE a 342-run target. The UAE lost opener Amjad Ali on the first ball of its second innings to Edgar Schiferli, went two-down in the following over when Indika Batuwitarachchi was run-out and then collapsed to 89-6 before being bowled out for 277 in 85 overs.
The victory earned the Netherlands 14 points which put it in fourth position on the championship table on 48 points with matches against defending champion Ireland and Kenya remaining while the UAE, which secured six first-innings lead points, ended its campaign on 29 points, including five defeats.
The star of the Netherlands' victory was fast bowler Edgar Schiferli who bagged 3-47 in the second innings, including the scalp of last-man Fahad Alhashmi, to finish the match with impressive figures of 37-8-95-8. The 31-year-old from Quick Haag has now taken a total of 22 wickets in the tournament.
Peter Borren (2-40), Daan van Bunge (1-28), Mudassar Bukhari (1-52) and Muhammad Kashif (1-53) were the other wicket-takers for the Netherlands.
For the UAE, Mohammad Tauqir was the top scorer with a fighting 64 from 115 balls that included eight fours and a six. Nizel Fernandes also batted well for his 84-ball 56, a knock that included eight boundaries. The two batsmen put on 119 runs for the seventh wicket.
Number nine batsman Shoaib Sarwar threw caution to the wind and struck some lusty blows while scoring 54 from 55 balls that included six fours and two sixes. Saqib Ali (43) and Arshad Ali (25) were the other batsmen to reach double figures.
Bas Zuiderent, who carried his bat for a magnificent 149 in the second innings, was adjudged man of the match.
The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception three years ago and now the ICC's premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members' cricket schedule.
Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event has evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.
Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in both events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider and Canada in the 2006-07 event.
The final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 will take place in November 2008 in the United Arab Emirates.
ICC Intercontinental Cup table (as of 6 April)
Team P WO WI D LI LO T Points
Namibia 5 5 3 - 2 0 - 82
Kenya 4 3 4 - - 1 - 66
Ireland 3 2 3 1 - - - 49
Netherlands 5 3 1 - 3 2 - 48
Scotland 4 1 2 2 1 1 - 32
UAE 7 1 2 1 4 5 - 29
Canada 4 1 2 - 2 3 - 26
Bermuda 4 - 1 - 3 4 - 06
WO - outright win - 14 points
WI - lead on first innings (also retained if outright loss) - 6 points
LI - behind on first innings - 0 points
LO - outright loss - 0 points
TO - outright tie - 7 points each
TI - tie first innings - 3 pts each
D - draw - 3 pts each
4-7 Jul - Canada v Bermuda, Toronto (Maple Leaf)
9-12 Jul - Netherlands v Ireland, Rotterdam (VOC)
10-13 Jul - Bermuda v Scotland, TBC
16-19 Jul - Canada v Scotland, Toronto (Maple Leaf)
6-9 Aug - Ireland v Canada, TBC
7-10 Aug - Scotland v Kenya, Glasgow (Clydesdale CC)
16-19 Aug - Netherlands v Kenya, Amsterdam (VRA CC)
3-6 Sep - Bermuda v Namibia, TBC
5-8 Oct - Namibia v Ireland, TBC
12-15 Oct - Kenya v Ireland, TBC
12-16 Nov ? FINAL, UAE