Netherlands secured six first innings lead points against Afghanistan as 20 wickets fell on the opening day of the four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup match at the VRA ground in Amstelveen on Monday.
Electing to bat first on a bowlers' friendly surface, the Netherlands collapsed to the pace and spin combination of Hamid Hassan and Mohammad Nabi when it was bowled out for 181 in 56.5 overs.
But the Dutch fought back gallantly and exposed Afghanistan's inexperience at this level when it bundled out the tourists for 107 in 36.5 overs to secure a 71-run first innings lead. Captain Peter Borren and Pieter Seelaar were the destroyers-in-chief when they bagged three wickets each as except for captain Nowroz Mughal (41), Raees Ahmadzai (27) and Mohammad Nabi (13) no other Afghanistan batsman could reach the double figures.
Previous match's star performer Noor Ali faced nine balls before becoming the first batsman to fall when he was trapped in front of the wickets by Mudassar Bukhari for a naught.
Afghanistan had slumped to 10-4 before Nowroz and Raees put on 50 runs for the sixth wicket to save the visitors' blushes. But after Raees was caught by Borren off Seelaar and Nowroz departed at the score of 98-8, it was all curtains for the tourists.
Earlier, Borren won the toss and elected to bat first. His decision looked to have backfired when the home team was reduced to 21-3. However, Grooth and opener Nick Statham (35) put their side back on track with a gutsy 73-run fourth wicket partnership.
Statham and Grooth fell to Nabi in a space of 28 runs but a late fight back by the Dutch lower middle-order batsmen helped the home side reach 181 with the last five wickets adding 59 runs.
Fast bowler Hamid Hassan, who took four wickets in the previous match against a Zimbabwe XI, was the pick of Afghanistan bowlers with 4-45 while Nabi, who bagged five wickets against a Zimbabwe XI, finished with 4-52.
Scores in brief
Netherlands 181 all out, 56.5 overs (Tom de Grooth 54, Nick Statham 35; Hamid Hassan 4-45, Mohammad Nabi 4-52)
Afghanistan 107 all out, 36.5 overs (Nowroz Mughal 41; Peter Borren 3-21, Pieter Seelaar 3-44, Edgar Schiferli 2-9)
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.
Having previously been designed around a four-group, three-day format and later a two-group 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 includes seven teams (Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe XI) while a new competition, the ICC Intercontinental Shield involves 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.
For more information go to: www.icc-cricket.com