Scotland face a sudden-death shootout for a spot at next year’s T20 World Cup after defeat by Holland in Dubai yesterday condemned them to a fourth-place finish in Group A of the qualifier.
The Scots needed a big win to move up the table and earn a second shot at qualification but the chance of victory receded when a poor batting display saw them post just 130 for eight.
Skipper Kyle Coetzer said: “The boys are a bit down but there’s still a lot to play for.
“We knew we had to get a score on the board on a challenging wicket but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the two big partnerships we needed to put a defendable total on the board.
“The way Ryan [ten Doeschate] played showed it was no bother to them.”
Yet Coetzer’s men put themselves back in contention when Safyaan Sharif made the breakthrough in the first over, forcing Tobias Visee to miscue to Josh Davey.
And the Dutch were in trouble on 17 for two when Max O’Dowd sent an Ali Evans delivery straight into the hands of Calum MacLeod at mid-on.
Davey got in on the act when he found the edge of Ben Cooper’s bat and at 31 for three Scotland had the initiative.
However, a blistering counter-attack from the experienced Ryan ten Doeschate turned the match decisively.
The Essex batsman staged a 59-run stand with Colin Ackerman (22) in just five overs and went on to finish unbeaten on 51 from just 35 balls as the Netherlands cruised to their target in the end, winning by four wickets with 18 balls to spare.
Mark Watt was the top bowler with three for 18.
Earlier Scotland’s batsmen, often out-thought by a skilful Dutch attack, played a series of rash strokes to deny them the big total they wanted.
George Munsey set the tone when he took a wild swing at a delivery from Ackerman and was bowled in the second over.
Coetzer and Matthew Cross rekindled hope with what proved to be the one substantial partnership of the innings and had the Scots well placed on 49 for one after the powerplay.
However, when Coetzer miscued a Pieter Seelaar delivery down the throat of long-on to depart for a run-a-ball 17 the Scots lost their way.
Their cause was not helped when in-form MacLeod – fresh from a sparkling 74 against Bermuda – was the victim of a shocking lbw verdict and reluctantly trudged off for a single.
Richie Berrington briefly threatened with one six in his 16 before offering a simple catch in the deep off Roelof van der Merwe before Michael Leask was outfoxed by a slower ball from Paul van Meekeren.
He was followed soon after by Craig Wallace while Scotland’s hopes of increasing the run-rate in the closing overs were dashed when Cross’s knock came to an end. The former Aberdeenshire batsman had reached 52 from 44 balls when he guided a wide delivery from Timm van der Gugten into the hands of short third-man.
Davey (14no) and Sharif (10) refused to throw in the towel but a total of 130 for eight looked well below par.
Scotland will learn their final opponents following tomorrow’s second v third play-off.
Meanwhile, Grange batsman Dylan Budge has been drafted into the squad for the remainder of the tournament as an injury replacement for club team-mate Oli Hairs.
l Jonny Bairstow hit 78 not out from 45 balls to help England begin their winter schedule with a six-wicket victory over a New Zealand XI in a T20 warm-up at a windswept Lincoln.
Bairstow anchored a tricky pursuit of 173 as England got home with 11 balls to spare.