Scotland hold nerve against Dutch to seal semi-final spot

Scotland shook off a major dose of the jitters to dramatically snuff out the challenge of the Netherlands and clinch a place in the semi-finals of the Desert T20 Challenge.

Scotland's Richie Berrington plays a shot during the Desert T20 Challenge match against Holland at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

For the bulk of the contest in Abu Dhabi, Kyle Coetzer’s side were made to struggle.

But the bowlers found form when it mattered most and clocked up two victories on the trot.

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Now they will turn their focus on to the tussle with Oman in Dubai, knowing another success will take them through as group toppers.

The picture had looked bleak for Coetzer and Co following a top-order batting collapse and a brisk start to the Dutch response as they pursued a 
target of 149.

However, the late pressure sparked panic in the Holland ranks – and the born-again Scots clinically finished them off. Dutch openers Mike 
Rippon and Ben Cooper raced past the 50-mark in just five overs after bludgeoning Brad Wheal and Josh Davey for a spate of boundaries.Wheal and Davey were smacked for a total of 31 in their respective opening overs, though the latter hit back to dismiss Cooper and Tobias Visee.

There was further hope when Con de Lange ousted Wes Barresi and Rippon, while Safyaan Shariff accounted for Paul Borren to make it 97 for five.And when Wheal sent Roelof van der Merwe packing, the tide had turned against the Dutch. Then, in a tense finale, Holland needed 10 off the last over.

Scotland held their nerve to pull off two run-outs through Sharif and Calum MacLeod to seal the seven-run win.

Earlier, the Scots couldn’t have had a worse start after being put in to bat. They lost their top three for only nine runs – a position from which they couldn’t fully recover.

George Munsey was first to perish, paying the price for swishing across the line to spinner van der Merwe.

Van der Merwe was quickly back in the spotlight, taking a comfortable catch to get 
rid of skipper Coetzer, who mistimed a pull off Paul van Meekeren.

And the slump continued as Matthew Cross watched in disgust as his thick edge off van Meekeren was deflected into the gloves of keeper Barresi by one of his slips.

Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington halted the rot by playing with controlled aggression. But the jitters set in again after they had put on 57 together.

MacLeod shaped to cut 
Rippon in the 12th over – only for his bat to clip the stumps.

Then Berrington was trapped lbw sweeping van der Merwe for 38 off 30 deliveries.

Rippon struck again with the tally on 105, clean bowling de Lange two balls after he had lofted him for a huge six.

And Craig Wallace was next to depart – leaving Sharif to clear the rope twice in his lusty 20 not out from 11.

However, his flurry was 
to prove vital in the final 
shake-up.