Bajans blow away Dutch
BARBADOS cleared the first hurdle in their quest for Caribbean Twenty20 glory here Thursday night, barely raising a sweat in romping to an emphatic ten-wicket over a limp Netherlands outfit.
Their bowlers stifled a Dutch line-up seriously lacking in quality and severely missing the class of seasoned pros Ryan ten Doeschate and Tom Cooper, before Dwayne Smith and Kirk Edwards motored to a modest victory target of 74 without any bother.
One of the few things that went the Netherlands’ way was the toss, but the pattern for the night was soon set after they chose to bat.
Barbados opted for Kevin Stoute ahead of Javon Searles and omitted veteran stroke-maker Dale Richards and jet-lagged Fidel Edwards.
The new ball was in the hands of Tino Best, but the highly-strung firebrand produced an over-enthusiastic start with three early leg side wides.
The 30-year-old did strike in his first over, but was lucky to get umpire Clancy Mack’s LBW verdict against Alexei Kervezee as the ball again seemed to be spearing down leg side.
With the widely-travelled ten Doeschate resting a weary body and Cooper appearing in the Big Bash, two new Dutch recruits tried to resuscitate the innings.
Michael Swart, a product of Perth, Australia, and Stephan Myburgh, from Pretoria, South Africa, shared a stand of 22 before they both failed to negotiate a short-ball examination from Carlos Brathwaite.
Swart, already badly dropped running back from mid-on by Ashley Nurse as he miscued a pull at Brathwaite, fell to a similar stroke.
This time, the contact was cleaner but flew straight to Sulieman Benn at midwicket.
In his next over, left-hander Myburgh’s cramped attempt at a pull spooned high into the leg side where Brathwaite shooed away other candidates and made sure he held the catch himself.
Brathwaite finished with two for 15 from his four overs, his pace and accuracy as impressive as the wicket celebrations, his rhythmic moves on removing Swart followed by vulture-like flapping of his arms after sending Myburgh on his way.
The Netherlands’ meek batting was compounded by uncertain running between the wickets that saw their captain Peter Borren run out for a duck at 31 for four in the eighth over.
Wicketkeeper Wesley Barresi tried to break the shackles but the wily Benn, his golden hair with black streak glimmering under the lights, yorked him as he advanced.
There was more careless running at fault when the Netherlands slipped to 50 for six.
Mudassar Bukhari was out by yards as he gambled and lost against the fleet Smith at midwicket.
Tom de Grooth, hero with an unbeaten 49 in Netherlands’ upset win over England at the World Twenty20 two-and-a-half years ago, could not anchor the innings to respectability.
He succeeded with a reverse sweep for one of only four boundaries in the innings but Best returned to york him leg stump as he, too, tried to improvise.
Ashley Nurse, whose first two overs were maidens, returned to mop up the tail.
The off-spinner, keen to reclaim the confidence of West Indies selectors after fitness issues led to his withdrawal from the brief Twenty20 tour of England last September, ended with eye-catching figures of three for seven off four overs.
He, too, flaunted a number of adept dance moves after each scalp.
Tim Gruijters was bowled making room to hit over the off side, Pieter Seelaar holed out to long on, while Timm van der Gugten slogged and missed.
A target of 74 was never likely to be much of a challenge and so it proved, as Smith, in typically forthright fashion, and captain Edwards, equally positive in his own way, swiftly sealed the victory.
Smith blasted six fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 49 off 27 deliveries, while Edwards counted three fours in 22 not out off 18 balls.
Against friendly bowling, the pair dined out.
Smith’s first six sailed over long-on from Bukhari’s gentle inswinger. His second ended the match as a full toss from Swart’s off-spin disappeared over long-off.
In between, Edwards probably played the stroke of the match, a glorious cover drive on the up racing to the ropes.
Barbados’ next task is a much tougher assignment against Jamaica tonight.