After being set a mammoth target of 331 to win, Hong Kong were 308-5 with 20 balls remaining but a late collapse saw the home side fall short.
Earlier, the Dutch innings was put into gear through Stephan Myburgh (88 off 98) and Roelof Van Der Merwe (62 off 48). Heroes from the Intercontinental Cup match earlier in the week Ben Cooper (43 off 37) and Pieter Seelaar (50 off 43 balls) were again in good touch.
However, given at one stage they were 183-3 in 29 overs, Hong Kong’s bowlers did well to limit what could have been an even bigger total. For Hong Kong, Ehsan Khan 2-49 and Ehsan Nawaz (2-62) were the pick of the bowlers on a surface tailor made for batting.
This was proven when Hong Kong began their innings, with 20 runs scored from the first over. Their flying started was tempered with the loss of Chris Carter (19) and Jamie Atkinson (6), but this brought together what proved a match-turning partnership between Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat.
They put on a partnership of 197 for the third wicket from just 190 balls. Rath, despite only being 19, finally reached his long-awaited century for Hong Kong after several near misses in the last 18 months.
Hayat was dismissed for 83 off 107 balls, backing up the 174 he made in the four-day fixture. But their dismissals took the chase from cruise control to tension as the lower order continued to pick out fielders on the boundary.
Twenty runs were needed from the last three overs with four wickets left, but the Dutch showed cooler heads to triumph and move to the top of the World Cricket League table.
“Momentum swung both ways through the match. We were happy to have 330 but we lost wickets at crucial times. we were in control and probably should have made more than that,” said Netherlands captain Peter Borren.
“Rath and Babar batted really well but I have to say Hong Kong gave it to us at the end so we will have to be a lot better in two days’ time, but we are pretty stoked to get the two points in what is a huge win.”
Hong Kong coach Simon Cook lamented a major missed opportunity for his side. “One that got away, which at the halfway stage we wouldn’t have expected, definitely one that we lost.”
“Some very poor shots and poor thinking under pressure was what it comes down to. We were 250-2 and lost a wicket then we lost two wickets quickly and with new men in it became difficult. Pleased for Anshuman to get over the line, it was good see him convert those 80’s and 90s into 100 and Babar Hayat to maintain his form.”
“The guys are pretty raw at the moment, when you get as close as we did it, it hurts a bit more, there will be a bit of work to do to pick the guys up.”
The second and final match will be held on Saturday.
Additional reporting: HK Cricket