Cricket: Mushtaq bewitches Dutch

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The Independent Online
Netherlands 117 Somerset 120-0 Somerset win by 10 wickets

The Netherlands were yesterday unable to follow up victories in the past decade over England representative teams at home when, caught on a seaming pitch at Taunton, they were well beaten by Somerset in the first round of the NatWest Trophy.

The Netherland's place in next summer's World Cup was lost when bad weather conspired against them in the ICC Trophy in Malaysia. As they try to build again towards the 2001 ICC Trophy and possible qualification for the 2003 World Cup, they suffered their fourth successive first-round exit - and heaviest beating yet since being included in the competition.

After struggling to 117 all out, with Somerset's acting captain Mushtaq Ahmed picking up the man-of-the-match award for his 5 for 26, the Netherlands saw the county side rush to a 10-wicket win with Michael Burns hitting 84 not out from just 62 balls. Somerset had 42.2 overs still in hand when Piran Holloway, 28 not out, cut Leon Bouter for the winning boundary.

A mis-match it certainly was, but the Netherlands were also unfortunate that Mushtaq won the toss when morning rain cleared and play was able to start at 2.15pm. Andy Caddick and Graham Rose were so difficult to get away, as the ball moved around on the initially damp surface, that the Dutch had just eight runs on the board after 10 overs.

The 21-year-old Bas Zuiderent, who made 99 against Worcestershire in last year's first round, had managed just 12 when he was removed in the 15th over. Roger Bradley, a native New Zealander, fought hard through 30 overs for his 31. But Mushtaq's beguiling mix of leg-breaks, googlies and top-spinners was too much for the middle and late order.

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