For the third time in a week Hong Kong and the Netherlands laid on a thrilling game but unfortunately for the partisan crowd at the Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground it was the visitors who triumphed again.
It was another high scoring affair, the Netherlands posted 314-9, with the heroics of Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat again not enough for Hong Kong as they fell short by 13 runs in a match they should have won.
In the four day game, Hong Kong dominated but didn’t have the mental fortitude and the game smarts to win the match and were forced to settle for a draw. The same applied in both ODI games, although chasing 300+ totals in both matches, Hong Kong laid the foundations to win but failed to finish the job. Credit to The Netherlands who stuck to their task, but Hong Kong should have had a clean sweep. The players need to learn how to win.
Netherlands opener Michael Rippon (53 off 78) and Ben Cooper (78 off 72) gave Netherlands a solid base, getting the Dutch to 97-1 in 20 overs.
Again it was a team effort from the Netherlands with the bat, with six players scoring over 20. Captain Peter Borren (49 off 43) and Pieter Seelaar (31 off 23) provided the impetus at the end of the innings.
The Netherlands threatened to make a higher target but were restricted in the final overs on a wicket just starting to lose some of its pace.
In response it was the familiar faces of Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat who again dominated for Hong Kong. They took Hong Kong to 144-1 after 29 overs when Rath was stumped off the bowling of Rippon who backed up his half-century with two wickets in a man-of-the-match display.
For Rath, at just 19 the future is bright. He is now the leading run scorer in the World Cricket League after scores of 134 and 85 in the series. Nizakat Khan lifted the rate and blasted 41 off 26 balls to leave Hong Kong requiring 103 off 78 balls with 8 wickets still in tact.
But as in the first match, the Netherlands bowled with clever plans and good execution in the final overs. The home side couldn’t find the boundary enough and when Hayat was dismissed for 86 off 80 balls, the match was as good as done.
“There are a lot positives for us, there is a lot of talent in the dressing room and we are not far away,” Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat said. “We should have won one of these games at least and done better, so the players are just disappointed. It’s hard to take being so close in both games and not getting a win.”
Netherlands captain Peter Borren was understandably delighted with his side taking both games in the series. “A really good team performance from us. 315, we were pretty happy with that at half time on a wicket getting a little bit tired.”
“You have to give credit again to Anshuman and Babar who have batted for the last 9-10 days where we have chased a lot of balls, they deserve better than what they have got here but we are delighted to have the points from these games.”
“We can be very proud with how we have done in the last week or so against a very good Hong Kong team, they have been fantastic hosts.”
The Hong Kong squad will now break off into their Hong Kong T20 Blitz squads with that tournament to be held on March 8-12.
Additional reporting: HK Cricket
Photo: Panda Man