Sylhet, Bangladesh - The Netherlands eased to a six-wicket win against first-timers United Arab Emirates in the opening round of the World Twenty20 at Sylhet Stadium on Monday.
Opener Stephan Myburgh hit a punishing 36-ball 55 with two sixes and seven boundaries to help the Netherlands overhaul a modest 152-run target with seven balls to spare.
It was a clinical finish by the Netherlands who are vying to progress from Group B for a place in the main rounds.
“We slowed down a bit towards the end and but I am happy to get over the line,” Netherlands skipper Peter Borren said.
“Myburgh set things up brilliantly and (Tom) Cooper was superb.”
Michael Swart (26) partnered Myburgh in a quickfire 69-run opening stand as the two put their team on the right track within the first seven overs.
Swart hit three boundaries and a six off just 16 balls while Wesley Barresi (24) and Cooper, who was 34 not out with four boundaries and a six, completed the task.
UAE, who won the toss and batted, lost their openers for 12 runs after just ten deliveries before Swapnil Patil (23) and skipper Khurram Khan (31) put on 67 for the third wicket to steady the innings.
Shaiman Anwar, who hit a solid 19-ball 32 with the help of four boundaries and a six, lifted the UAE past the 150-run mark.
Rohan Mustafa made 20 before medium pacer Ahsan Malik stopped the final over slog with a career best 3-16.
Cooper took 2-18 to complete an all-round performance for the Netherlands.
Khan admitted his team was short on runs and sloppy in the field.
“The way we started and the way we were playing, I thought 175 was on. But three wickets in the 15th-16th over changed the game and they bowled and fielded well,” said Khan.
“We dropped so many catches and that probably made the difference in the end.”
Ireland upset Zimbabwe by three wickets in the same group earlier in the day while in Group A Bangladesh and Nepal registered wins on the opening day on Sunday.
Six qualifiers along with hosts Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are competing in the first round and winners of each group will then contest the Super-10 round with the top eight Test nations - Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, England, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies - from March 21.
The final is on April 6 in Dhaka.
UAE 151 all out in 19.5 overs (Shaiman Anwar 32, Khurram Khan 31; Ahsan Malik 3-16)
The Netherlands 152-4 in 18.5 overs (S. Myburgh 55, Tom Cooper 34 not out)
The Netherlands won by six wickets.