Netherlands captain Pieter Seelar said his side were taught cricket lesson after Nepal crushed them by nine wickets in the first match of the Tri-Nation Twenty20 International Series at a vibrant TU Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts cruised to a nine-wicket victory in 15 overs after restricting Netherlands to 135-4 in 20 overs. It turned out to be the most successful result for Nepal against any strong side they have played against after international debutants Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh both struck quickfire half centuries.
The young opening duo also notched up Nepal’s record opening wicket partnership of 116 runs in the format beating the previous best of 108 between former skipper Paras Khadka and current captain Gyanendra Malla during the 13th South Asian Games match against Bhutan.
Kushal was the major tormentor once he survived a catch in the third ball of the Nepali innings after Vivian Kingma was adjudged to have crossed the line. Kushal kept scoring runs freely before Aasif also began cutting loose leaving Netherlands bowlers out of sorts.
“How I would define is that Nepal gave us a cricket lesson,” Seelar said after his side was unexpectedly blown away by Nepal with the bat. “We have played them quite a bit but they came up with different sort of attitude than they normally do. To be fair, they were just hundred times better than we were.”
Netherlands were playing for the first time in Nepal and came into Saturday’s game after a 14-month hiatus of international cricket, all because of the pandemic.
They took long to set their feet right against Nepal who had elected to field first. Netherlands managed just five sixes in at the TU pitch which has been playing well for the last two three domestic tournaments. Seelar said pitch was not the issue for his side.
“More than the pitch, it was the Nepali bowling (that made difficult for us). They hit the deck better than we did. They made it very difficult to score and we were at times a bit full and were punished every time we bowled full. We looked a bit square and Nepali batsmen hit straight,” added Seelar.
It was Nepal’s third victory over the Netherlands in Twenty20 Internationals having beaten them in the Oman Pentangular Series in November, 2019 and 2014 four-match Twenty20 International Series in Amsterdam. Netherlands play Malaysia in their second match on Sunday.