Seafarers defeat Highlanders in NSPS50
Seafarers make unlikely comeback to win by two wickets as Braat hits 96*; Leask and Evans shine for the Highlanders in Holland. [Scorecard]
Michael Leask again starred with the bat in Voorburg in the opening match of the North Sea Pro 50 as the Highlanders lost by two wickets thanks to a 110 partnership from Braat and Peter Seelar which saw the Seafarers turn around the game in extraordinary fashion. The Scots failed to bat out the overs being dismissed for 205 in the 46th over and that would prove to be an important factor later on in the match.
After top scoring in the T20 the previous day Leask continued his fine form at number four in the longer format and proved that he is one of Scotland's best form batsmen of the moment by again dominating the Dutch bowlers. His innings of 70 included 12 boundaries at a strike rate of 117 before being bowled by van Schleven. However the support from yesterday was lacking slightly, with not other batsmen scoring over 30.
The Highlanders again got off to the best possible start, with Ally Evans clean bowling both openers in the first over. Evans is also hitting rich form after claiming four wickets yesterday off the back of impressive performances in Durham and will be looking to continue this through the summer and beyond. The Highlanders were on the front foot as Evans claimed the first five wickets and had the Seafarers looking dead and buried on 29-5 from just 11 overs.
However, with the result looking like another victory, when Seelar and Braat stepped up to the crease for the 7th wicket partnership none of the Highlanders could have predicted what was to happen next. With no pressure maybe the Scots took the foot off the gas and allowed the Dutch batsmen to get settled, and they nudged and stroked their way in to the game at a run-a-ball. Even at 52-6 there was still plenty of overs left to hit the target of 205 and both Seelar and Braat stood up to the challenge where the top order had failed to exceed.
Showing the composure of opening batsmen, both players displayed some of the quality which saw the Dutch success at the recent world cup, forging a partnership of 137 which was to turn the game on it's head. It was clear that there was plenty of time left for the batsmen and that the only way the Highlanders could claim victory was to bowl them out before they reached the total.
They came close, dismissing Seelaar for 58 and van Schelven for a duck, but Braat went on to score a match winning innings of 96 not out to claim victory for the Seafarers by two wickets with 8.2 overs to spare. The loss will be hard to take for the Highlanders after their victory yesterday and being in such a dominating position, but they will look to build on the performances of Leask and Evans when they take on the Reivers next week in Arbroath.