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A new round meant a new chance for the men in Orange, after the loss on Friday where the Netherlands proved unable to chase 222. Despite good bowling and reasonable fielding, the Netherlands could not manage to chase the 237 Afghan runs.

Very characteristically, the organization had placed new flags instead of the embarrassing rags of Friday. And much more importantly: the players played on a seemingly better wicket.

That meant it was only a small margin of error for the bowlers because Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first. Viv Kingma bowled excellent opening overs and from the other end, Fred Klaassen already claimed Usman Ghani’s wicket with his very first ball: a dream start for the Orange.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Rahmat Shah repaired the damage. Where Afghanistan barely managed to rotate the strike on Friday, it now succeeded a bit better thanks to soft hands and sharper calls. Boundaries only came when Klaassen chose to bowl round the wicket. Time for bowling changes, with the debuting Ryan Klein (in the team for Brandon Glover) and captain Pieter Seelaar taking over from the opening bowlers.

Klein soon discovered that at this level you can’t get away with bowling half volleys. His first four overs went for 31. On the other hand, Seelaar bowled well from the start. He earned a wicket when Rahmat swept him to the square leg boundary, but the dolly was not spent on Gorlee who otherwise fielded pretty well. Fortunately for the Netherlands, this dropped catch was not too expensive. One over later, Boissevain (who would finish 2-39) bowled a beauty on Rahmat (35) who was dismissed due to a stumping by Edwards. 84/2 in the 20th over.

Opener Gurbaz and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi worked steadily on a partnership. After thirty overs, the score was 144/2, so 4.8 per over. That looked much more threatening than on Friday; a score of 260 to 270 was in the offing. On the other hand, thanks to a lot of variation and excellent field placings, the Netherlands made it very difficult for Afghanistan to find the boundary.

Nevertheless, Gurbaz reached his 100 in the 40th over. The score was 184/2/40, so in ten overs the Afghans had made exactly 40 runs. Once again, Afghanistan failed to press the accelerator. That was due to excellent Dutch bowling. An attempt to clear the ropes resulted in a good catch from Ryan Klein on the boundary. Shortly after, Klein had success as a bowler in his much better second spell when he bowled Hashmatullah for 54: 203/4 in the 45th over.

Gulbadin’s “close your eyes and hit out” strategy resulted in Edwards being able to quickly grab his second stumping: 206/5 in the 46th over. So only 4.5 runs per over – and still no acceleration.

Kingma and Klaassen were called up for the ‘death’ and did a sublime job with ‘pace off’ and plenty of variation. Now 240 was on the map, where earlier 270 seemed realistic. Kingma finished with 0-42 off his 10 overs. Klaassen took 2-51 despite a miss by Klein at long off, with Bas de Leede clinging on to Najibullah at cow corner. Afghanistan was cleverly restricted to 237/6; another great chance for the Netherlands to chase this total.

Innings Netherlands

Scott Edwards and Musa Ahmed opened energetically and Musa seemed a bit unlucky when he was given out caught behind (21/1). Colin Ackermann mistimed a cover drive: 35/2 in the ninth over. Again cheap wickets in a not too deep batting side. Just like on Friday, keeping wickets in hand was the motto.

Scott Edwards and Bas de Leede succeeded, despite very disciplined bowling. They made 90 runs for the third wicket. The other side of the coin, however, was that – partly because the pitch deteriorated – the required run rate was crawling up dangerously. Singles were hard to get by, let alone boundaries. Rashid Khan bowled an impeccable length and well-hidden variations and seamer Gulbadin also varied greatly.

The required run-rate had risen to more than seven per over when Bas de Leede (34) played on: 125/3 in the 35th over. When Edwards went LBW four overs later for a fine 86, it became a tricky chase for Seelaar and Gorlee, especially when Seelaar very unnecessarily ran himself out at the non-striker’s end. It was 161/5 after 41 overs.

Gorlee made an attempt but fell victim to a top edge off Rashid Khan (172/6 in the 44th over). A mix-up between Ryan Klein and Saqib Zulfiqar meant the end of Saqib and 187/7 in the 47th over. Philippe Boissevain was caught behind the wicket: 188/8. Klaassen and Kingma needed three balls together to hand over the last two wickets to Afghanistan. In the 48th over, the proverbial curtain fell with the fall of the last wicket, that of Kingma. The Netherlands 189 all out.

With this, the second ODI was almost a copy of Friday’s game: the Netherlands kept Afghanistan well under 250 but lacked depth in the batting side to chase that.

Scorecard click here.