The Netherlands secured their place at the Global Qualifiers for both formats of the ICC Women’s World Cup on net run-rate after a nine-wicket victory over Germany in the Women’s World Cup European Qualifier in La Manga.
Chasing Germany’s total of 63 for 9, Heather Siegers (36*) and Denise van Deventer (13*) saw the Dutch overcome a spirited German performance to cross the line off the final ball of the seventh over, thus displacing Scotland at the top of the table.
The Scots had claimed their third victory of the tournament earlier in the day after a comprehensive 107-run win over the Golden Eagles. With their head-to-head record against the Dutch tied at one win each, Steve Knox’s side had gone into the match knowing that run-rate was likely to be the factor which would separate them, and after being asked to bat first Sarah Bryce made their intentions plain by pulling the first delivery to the boundary.
Although the shock was palpable as she was given out LBW four balls later, Kathryn Bryce and Becky Glen quickly recovered to regain Scotland’s momentum.
Despite the hot weather, the outfield at the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Oval remained slow. A number of balls stopped short or plugged on their way to the boundary, but Glen, after a drive for two, hit over the top for the first six of the innings in the fourth over. Both batters used the sweep to good effect, while Bryce drove a full toss from Emma Bargna for a one-bounce four to bring up the 50 in the seventh. The fourteen-year-old had made it difficult for the batters, however, her loopy, awkwardly-flighted deliveries often asking questions, and the youngster finished with 1 for 21 from her four overs after what had been another good display.
After scoring at around eight per over, Scotland began to up the rate in the ninth. Glen swept a one-bounce boundary to bring up the fifty partnership before Bryce took two more off Anna Healey’s first over, the second after using her feet beautifully to drive through the covers. The bowling of Milena Beresford received similar treatment, and although the off-spinner induced a false shot from the Scotland captain in the twelfth, her mistimed drive being dropped by Healey at long-on, Glen followed it up with the shot of the day over deep square-leg to bring up the hundred partnership and take Scotland to 110 for 1. A single took Glen to what had been a terrific half-century – off 39 balls, with four fours and two sixes, she had helped put Scotland into a powerful position.
The next over saw the captain reach the same landmark as Bryce followed up her captain’s innings against the Dutch with another crucial half-century. With wickets in hand the two ran aggressively to take eight from a Stephanie Frohnmayer over, while successive sixes over square and cow corner saw Bryce pass the record for Scotland’s highest individual score in a WT20I in the sixteenth.
The next delivery brought her downfall, however, as she drove Tina Gough to mid-off, and although Ruth Willis was straight off the mark with two, her dismissal in the following over, compounded by those of Glen (60) and Scholes (0) in the next, applied a sudden brake to Scotland’s progress. From 147 for 2, Scotland lost seven for 21 as they tried to regain momentum, debutant Charis Scott (3) being last to go as she was run out off the final ball of the innings.
As Scotland looked to restrict Germany in the reply it was the introduction of Abtaha Maqsood which provided the first breakthrough, her leg-spin accounting for both Janet Ronalds (11) and Karthika Vijayaraghaven (0) in a fifth over double-wicket maiden. With Rachel Scholes keeping things tight at the other end the batters struggled to get going, and when Maqsood added the wicket of Healey (4) in the seventh – a third LBW for the Stormers player – Germany was struggling at 19 for 3. Tina Gough and Stephanie Frohnmayer tried to break the shackles, but a smart pick up and throw to the non-striker’s end from debutant Katherine Fraser took advantage of Frohnmayer’s hesitation to run her out for 9. Katie McGill bowled well again, her three wickets including that of German captain Gough for 17, and, along with Kathryn Bryce, she was instrumental in seeing Germany take just nine from the final five overs.
In keeping their opponents to 61 for 7, Scotland had done all they could. In the final reckoning, however, it was the Netherlands who would prevail.