There are times when it is best to simply sit back and applaud a marvellous game of cricket.
Such was the case in La Manga, where a nerveless display from Sarah and Kathryn Bryce saw Scotland to a remarkable victory on Super Over against a talented Netherlands side at the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Oval. Chasing 8 for victory after both teams had ended their innings on 96, the sisters demonstrated their coolness under pressure once again as Scotland’s hopes of progression to the 2021 Women’s World Cup Global Qualifier were kept alive.
It was a game in which advantage changed direction as frequently as the strong Spanish breeze. Scotland, unchanged from the side which lost by eight runs in the corresponding fixture on Wednesday, brought Kathryn up the order to open alongside Sarah, and after being put in to bat the two made a confident start in the hot conditions. Wicketkeeper-batter Sarah cleared the rope as 17 came from the second over, but with the score on 29 in the fifth, two wickets in four balls applied a sudden brake to their progress. The fall of Sarah (15), caught behind off the bowling of Caroline de Lange, was followed by the dismissal of Becky Glen for a three-ball duck, and when Priyanaz Chatterji (3) and Rachel Scholes (0) followed too, the latter stumped by Babette de Leede to present de Lange with her third wicket in eleven deliveries, Scotland’s innings, at 33 for 4, was in danger of collapse.
Lorna Jack, moved down the order from her customary position as opener, joined her captain at the crease, and the two batted well together to release some of the tension. A no-ball four was followed by a free-hit six as Kathryn took the score past 50 and on to 66 for 4 after eleven, but the fall of Jack (10), caught at midwicket by Juliet Post off the first ball of the twelfth, heralded the beginning of another flurry of dismissals. The prized wicket of the captain followed in the next over, and despite the resolve of Ruth Willis (4), Katie McGill (5), Samantha Haggo (5) and Megan McColl (7), none could form the partnership needed to check the Netherlands’ momentum. Having posted only 96 in 18.4 overs, Scotland needed to show its mettle with the ball.
The improvement from the previous display against the Netherlands was evident from the outset. Extras had cost Scotland dear in the final reckoning on Wednesday, but the accuracy of Kathryn Bryce and Priyanaz Chatterji set a tone which was maintained throughout the innings. Sterre Kalis (3), fresh from her unbeaten 126 in the morning’s win over Germany, lost her middle stump as the pressure of a static scoreboard started to build, and when Denise van Deventer followed LBW next ball, Scotland’s captain had two-in-two to reduce the Netherlands to 7 for 2. The hat-trick ball was survived but a maiden in the sixth kept the scoring under control, and when Rachel Scholes struck in the sixth to remove the dangerous Heather Siegers (7), brilliantly caught by Lorna Jack at mid-wicket, the Dutch were in further trouble at 17 for 3.
Miranda Veringmeier and Robine Rijke saw the score to 34 for 3 at the drinks interval, but with boundaries hard to come by the required run-rate had, by now, risen to above a run a ball. The break saw the two restart with new impetus as 12 came from Abtaha Maqsood’s first over, but the leg-spinner was to gain her revenge with the first ball of her second as Veringmeier (17) was bowled round her legs.
The tension mounted as the teams continued to trade blows. De Leede cleared the rope in the seventeenth to take the target below twenty; Scotland struck back in the next with the wicket of Rijke (27) and the run-out of Post (2). With seven required from the final over, Katie McGill held her nerve to keep the Netherlands batters to six, Iris Zwilling being run-out of the final ball going for the third run that would have given her side victory. At 96 for 7, the Super Over was confirmed.
After Kathryn Bryce and some exceptionally committed fielding restricted Sterre Kalis and Heather Siegers to 7, Sarah Bryce hit the first ball of Annemijn van Beuge’s over to the boundary, before a dot and four singles took Scotland over the line. It had been a tremendous advertisement for the Associate women’s game, and one which will live long in the memory.