De Leede Stars In Netherlands's High-scoring Thriller > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - De Leede stars in Netherlands's high-scoring thriller

The win sees the Netherlands join their hosts on two wins from three.

The win sees the Netherlands join their hosts on two wins from three.

Bas de Leede's career-best 81* off 41 saw the Netherlands chase down a daunting target of 207 to hand hosts Nepal their first defeat in the Tri-Nations series and draw level at the top of the table. The chase was the Netherlands' highest-ever in T20 Internationals, breaking a record set in their famous win over Irelandin the 2014 T20 WC.

The Dutch had again looked rusty in the field after Nepal had elected to set a score first on an uncharacteristically batting-friendly Kathmandu pitch. Kushal Bhurtel again top-scored for the hosts with a 46-ball 62, albeit this time without the company of his in-form fellow-opener Aasif Sheikh, who was caught off Kingma for a duck in the second over. He would lose his skipper Gyanendra Malla after another successful powerplay had yielded 60 runs, but the Nepal middle-order called upon for the first time in the series and answered admirably. Dipendra Singh Airee struck a maiden T20I half-century in quick time before he and Bhurtel perished in consecutive overs, the latter well caught by de Leede off Kingma at midwicket and Airee holing out off Pieter Seelaar trying to hit him for a third six in as many balls. The runs kept coming, however, with Kushal Malla and Sompal Kami taking advantage of some indifferent Dutch bowling, as the hosts finishing on 206 for 6 and leaving their guests with a proverbial mountain to climb.

The Netherlands seemed to stumble out of the gate as Sunday's centurion Max O'Dowd chipped Sompal Kami to mid off in the first over, but was called back to the crease as replays showed Kami had overstepped. Number 3 Ben Cooper was duly sent back from the middle, but didn't have to wait long to come back out again as Sandeep Lamichhane trapped O'Dowd on the sweep next over. Cooper seems to have benefited from the chance to stretch his legs repeatedly finding the rope on the drive as he raced to 36 off 17 at the close of the powerplay. By then he had been joined by de Leede, Tobias Visee having charged past a googly to give Lamichhane his second wicket, but de Leede was initially content to take a back seat as Cooper continued to drive the scoring.

By the end of the tenth over the Dutch were well set on 98-2, but de Leede was still striking at barely a run a ball on 17 off 16, with Cooper nearing a half-century. But come the next over de Leede would not so much switch gears as hit the nitrous and ignite the afterburners. Coming down the track to club Shahab Alam over long on for the first six of the innings, de Leede followed it up with another colossal maximum over cover four balls later. By the time Cooper reached his half-century with a lofted drive over cover off Lamichhane in the 12th over de Leede had almost caught up to him and the Netherlands looked well in control of the chase at 133-2.

But Lamichhane almost proved the trump card again, Cooper holing out off a googly from round the wicket, slog-sweeping into the hands of deep backward square trying to clear the rope for the first time in his innings. Young Aryan Dutt came to the crease for the first time in the series to join de Leede, but would fall to Kushal Malla in the next over without scoring, failing to clear DS Airee who covered a lot of ground to take the catch on the midwicket boundary. Malla's over would yield just one run and at the end of the 14th Nepal looked on top again with the asking rate over two runs per ball.

Pieter Seelaar would wrest the momentum back for his side with three consecutive sixes of Lamichhane in the 18th over, only to cut into the hands of Malla at cover two balls later to give Lamichanne his fourth scalp. De Leede was undaunted, however, all-but sealing the match taking two sixes and a four off Abinash Bohara in the 19th despite losing another partner in Scott Edwards at the other end.

With just five to defend off the final over Malla turned to Karan KC in the hopes of a trademark miracle, and for a moment it seemed it might come off. Tonny Staal fell for a golden duck top-edging a pull straight up for Bhandari behind the stumps, but the elevation was enough to allow the batsmen to cross. Back on strike de Leede needed just two balls to seal the match, the first a short arm pull somehow muscled between midwicket and long on for four, and the next dabbed through the gap between point and third man to the rope, seeing the Dutch home with three wickets and three balls to spare.

The win sees the Netherlands join their hosts on two wins from three, each with a game against currently winless Malaysia to play. The Netherlands will be back in action tomorrow hoping to seal their place in the final, and indeed that of Nepal as Malaysia will need to win both their remaining games convincingly to have a chance at the trophy. Nepal will meet Malaysia again on the 22nd in the final game of group play before the final on the 24th.