Umar Bhatti praises van Bunge after bad weather denies Canada victory in ICC Intercontinental Cup
Canada was all praise for the Netherlands all-rounder Daan van Bunge after weather denied it a certain victory in the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10 match in Rotterdam.
Almost three hours of play was lost on the final day as the Dutch, resuming the day at 112-5 while chasing 368 runs for victory, escaped with a highly respectable draw. Only 59 overs of play was possible on the last day in which the Netherlands added 121 runs to its overnight score and lost three wickets to finish at 233-8.
The Dutch collected nine points (six for a 52-run first innings lead and three for a draw) from the match while the North Americans, who were sighting 13 victory points, had to settle with just three points for a draw.
Canada captain Umar Bhatti praised van Bunge's match-saving effort, saying: "It was an excellent batting performance by (van) Bunge as he put the team first and batted with tremendous responsibility. Even the sight of a maiden first-class century couldn't distract him. I think his knock has been an example and a lesson for many batsmen."
Van Bunge had walked on to the pitch on the third afternoon after the Netherlands was reduced to 11-2 which soon became 77-5. But when the match ended, he had faced 294 balls while scoring 98 not out that included 10 fours and a six.
Van Bunge had a good game overall. Besides scoring a match-saving 98 not out, he also had match figures of 6-120, including 3-11 in the first innings.
"(Van) Bunge dug in deep and really played well. We tried everything and used all the resources that were at our disposal but the Dutch proved to be more determined and finished out on top of us.
"It is disappointing to lose valuable points which looked just round the corner when play ended on Friday. It was even more frustrating sitting in the dressing room and waiting to go out there and push for victory.
"But I think we batted below our potential in the first innings which probably cost us the match. But we bounced back strongly by first restricting the Netherlands to 233 and then scoring 419-9 in the second innings and that too at a decent scoring-rate to set ourselves a good victory chance. We would have achieved victory if we had a full day's play on Saturday," Bhatti said.
"Sunil (Dhaniram) batted brilliantly in the second innings and put us back on course. He showed that we were getting there and with the match against Kenya coming up in the next couple of weeks, I'm sure we'll be able to put up a more improved performance and will hopefully be able to add a few more points to our name," said Bhatti.
Dhaniram was the mainstay of Canada's second innings. He scored a superlative 144 that helped Canada declare its second innings at 419-9 to secure a 367-run lead. It was Dhaniram's second first-class century that came off 178 balls and included 17 fours and two sixes.
Bhatti was optimistic that his side would play better cricket in the forthcoming first-class matches. "This is just the beginning of a long season and I'm sure we'll be able to translate whatever we have learnt on this tour into those matches. Ideally, we would have been happier with a few more points against our names but we still have matches in hand and we'll try to bag maximum points from the Kenya match."
Canada, on the two-week European tour, played two ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10 matches and four One-Day Internationals. It lost to Canada by 29 runs but drew the two-match ODI series with both the sides winning one match piece. Against the Dutch, its four-day match ended in a draw while the second ODI was washed out after it had lost the opener by 50 runs.
Looking back at the tour, Bhatti said: "The tour has proved to be an excellent learning curve to our team and specially the youngsters. Obviously we would have liked to win a few more matches but playing in different conditions and against different oppositions has provided to boys to understand what to expect at this level and how we can improve our performances for upcoming matches.
"I'm sure when we'll tour European next time, we'll be able to put up an improved performance.
"Captaining Canada has been a pleasure and honour. I have enjoyed the tour thoroughly even though we had good days and bad days but every minute of it was worth it. I'm extremely proud to have led Canada on this tour," Bhatti said.
Scores in brief
Canada 177 all out, 65.4 overs (Sandeep Jyoti 37, Ashif Mulla 28; Daan van Bunge 3-11, Peter Borren 3-37, Peter Seelaar 3-54) and 419-9d, 100 overs (Sunil Dhaniram 144, Qaiser Ali 61, Geoff Barnett 37, Ashif Mulla 40, Khurram Chohan 36 not out, Umar Bhatti 36, Sandeep Jyoti 35; Berend Westdijk 4-85, Daan van Bunge 3-19)
The Netherlands 229 all out, 81.3 overs (Nick Statham 57, Tom de Grooth 36, Wesley Barresi 31, Peter Borren 24, Jeroen Brand 20; Sandeep Jyoti 3-59, Rizwan Cheema 2-10, Zameer Zahir 2-31) and 233-8 (Daan van Bunge 98 not out, Bart Schilperoord 27, Umar Bhatti 4-32, Khurram Chohan 2-55)
ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10
P - number of matches played
WO - outright win - 14 pts
WI - lead on first innings (retained irrespective of the outright result) - 6 pts
LO - outright loss - 0 pts
LI - behind on first innings -0 pts
TO - outright tie - 7 pts
TI - tie first innings - 3 pts
D1 - In a match with more than 10 hours lost due to interruptions, each side will be awarded seven points for a draw, plus any points scored in the first innings.
D2 - In a match with 10 hours or less lost due to interruptions, each side will be awarded three points each for the draw, plus any points scored in the first innings.
A - match completely abandoned without a ball being bowled
7- 10 August - - Kenya v Canada ? Toronto, Canada (ground tba)
16- 19 August ? Zimbabwe A v Afghanistan, Mutare, Zimbabwe
17-20 August ? Scotland v Ireland, Mannofield, Scotland
17-20 August ? Bermuda v Uganda, National Stadium, Hamilton, Bermuda (ICC Intercontinental Shield)
24-27 August ? Netherlands v Afghanistan, Netherlands (ground tba)
About ICC Intercontinental Cup
The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception five years ago and now the ICC's premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members' cricket schedule.
There will be a total of US$250,000 in prize money for the Associate and Affiliate teams taking part in the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10 with US$100,000 for the winners and US$40,000 for the runners-up.
Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event then 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.
This year's format will include seven teams (Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe XI), while a new competition, the ICC Intercontinental Shield will involve four teams below that, namely Bermuda, Namibia, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.
Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in all three events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider, Canada in the 2006-07 event and Namibia in 2007-08.
Go to http://www.icc-cricket.com/events_and_awards/intercontinental_cup/index.php to find out more.