SCOTLAND’s World Cup dream died in the desert as the Netherlands carved out a three-wicket win at the Global Cricket Academy in Dubai.
A Saltires side, creaking at the seams after an injury-jinxed qualifying campaign, went down fighting after Calum MacLeod’s brilliant half-century helped them post 166 for six.
However, the Scottish batsmen were unable to press the accelerator at the end of their innings while the bowlers, having built pressure impressively, released it during a couple of fatally expensive overs.
Ironically, it was former Forfarshire batsman Tom Cooper, one of eight Dutch players born outside the Netherlands, whose well-paced 60 extinguished Scotland’s hopes of travelling to the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka later this year.
While refusing to make excuses for his team’s exit, coach Pete Steindl did point out that the loss of his two frontline seam bowlers had proved costly. Neither, Gordon Goudie nor Safy Sharif survived an arduous schedule while the former’s replacement Moneeb Iqbal was short of top-flight action as a toll of 33 runs from his two overs proved.
Steindl admitted: “At the end of the day we’ve come up short and the guys are gutted. To be honest, we have run out of bowlers and that has made our task even harder. It hurt us not having Gordon and it hurt us not having Safy but the guys tried extremely hard and we would still have backed ourselves to get through to the World Cup.”
The day started well for the Saltires when MacLeod and Richie Berrington came out firing. They reached 59 without loss in the seventh over before Berrington was first to go for a 25-ball 37. However, another half-century stand between MacLeod and Preston Mommsen kept the momentum going.
Mommsen hit a rapid 26 while MacLeod’s 57 came from just 42 balls and included five boundaries and two maximums. However, the Saltires lost their way and struck just two boundaries in the last six overs.
The Dutch were given a solid start by Stephan Myburgh and Michael Swart, who put on 31 for the first wicket. However, Berrington made the breakthrough to remove Swart before Majid Haq claimed two wickets in quick succession, deceiving Alex Kervezee in the flight and also bowling Myburgh for 36.
Haq claimed his third wicket when Mudassar Bukhari charged down the wicket and was stumped by Craig Wallace.
Berrington took a return catch to remove Peter Borren, while Gordon Drummond kept Scottish hopes alive by dismissing Wesley Barresi and Cooper in the space of four balls as the game went to the final over.
However, Cooper had already done the damage, having seized the initiative by smashing three sixes in a row off the unfortunate Iqbal. He hit one further maximum as well as four boundaries in his punishing 32-ball knock.