Kwekwe: The Netherlands held their nerve against a spirited Hong Kong outfit to ensure that they will face Nepal in a seventh-place play-off, consigning Hong Kong to a fixture against PNG in a play-off to determine which team will finish ninth.
For Hong Kong, defeat is a bitter blow. They will now relinquish their ODI status at the end of the tournament. The result, however, does ensure that Nepal have now been awarded full ODI status.
Despite an excellent all-round show on the field by Hong Kong, led by Nadeem Ahmed’s 3/20, to restrict the Netherlands to 174, the target proved beyond a raw and inexperienced batting unit.
Electing to bat under partially cloudy skies, the Netherlands got off to a sedate start with Wesley Barresi and Max O'Dowd adding 34 runs for the opening wicket before the former was accounted for by Ehsan Nawaz, caught behind for 11.
Ben Cooper, batting at No. 3, cracked a couple of boundaries to take the Netherlands past the 50 mark, but that was all he could manage before Tanwir Afzal castled him.
Two wickets down in just the 11th over and without Ryan ten Doeschate, their usual middle-order mainstay, the Netherlands were forced to consolidate after Cooper fell.
O'Dowd and Peter Borren combined for a third-wicket stand of 55, during which O'Dowd reached a run-a-ball half-century. However, he fell soon after, chipping Aizaz Khan straight to mid-on for 62, an innings studded with four fours and three sixes.
The skipper Borren was the next to go, missing a sweep off Ahmed to find his off stump pegged back for 31, leaving the Netherlands at 145/4.
A flurry of wickets followed Borren's dismissal, setting the Netherlands back further. Ahmed struck again trapping Bas de Leede lbw for 29, while Afzal castled Roelof van der Merwe with a ripper for a five-ball duck. None of the other batters could get going, with the Dutch eventually bowled out in 48.2 overs.
At the halfway stage, Hong Kong would have fancied their chances of claiming another big scalp, but their innings stuttered initially, losing both openers inside the first five overs, and they never recovered thereafter.
The Hong Kong skipper Babar Hayat sparkled for 52, but his was a lone stand. For the Dutch, van der Merwe was the pick, his left-arm darts proving difficult to negotiate, his four wickets here taking his tournament tally up to 15.