Dutch opener Szwarczynski proves star turn

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 20/01/2014
Netherlands Cricket
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ
CLEANED UP: Papua New Guinea opener Tony Ura has his off stump removed during his side's lacklustre run chase against the Netherlands at Pukekura Park.

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Netherlands opener Eric Szwarczynski took advantage of a last-minute callup to set his side's World Cup qualifying campaign back on track after some indifferent form in their opening two matches of the tournament.

The South African-born Szwarczynski carried his bat through the Netherlands innings, finishing with 129 from 155 balls at New Plymouth's Pukekura Park.

A scratchy seven-wicket win over strugglers Uganda after a 91-run loss to Namibia had left some pundits questioning the strength of the Netherlands side heading into yesterday's match against an unbeaten Papau New Guinea side.

Those questions were answered emphatically yesterday after the Netherlands amassed 323-4 off their 50 overs, although some doubts might still exist after Papau New Guinea fought back from 73-7 to reach 193, thanks almost entirely to a delightful rear guard innings of 96 from No 8 batsman Jack Vare.

The diminutive right-hander was a boundary away from a first one-day 100 before he was bowled, not before helping himself to seven fours and seven sixes, his runs coming from just 59 balls.

His innings almost over-shadowed that of Szwarczynski who only took his place in the Netherlands side after Michael Swart was injured warming up.

The right-hand batsman paced his innings throughout and was happy to play a secondary role at times to team-mates Wesley Barresi (56) and captain Peter Borren (65).

Not that the 30-year-old was unable to lift the scoring rate when afforded the chance, especially in the last 10 overs when the Papua New Guinea bowlers struggled to contain their more experienced opposition.

Too often the Papua New Guinea bowlers struggled with their length, especially under pressure as the score ticked over at an alarming rate.

Szwarczynski's 100 came off 137 balls, while he finished with 16 fours and a solitary six.

It was his first international century, topping his previous high score of 98.

"Our batting lineup is pretty dangerous if we can set a foundation which he [Szwarczynski] did," Borren said. "It was very nice for Eric because he hasn't been in the side. He comes in at the last second, gets a hundred and he batted very well.

"Overall, we would have taken a 130-run win beforehand, although it's a funny feeling walking off after one of their guys has just smoked it everywhere. But we still won by 130, which is good."

Borren himself was particularly punishing in his 35-ball stay at the crease, hitting the rope seven times and going over it on three occasions.

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Papua New Guinea, who have been the surprise team of the World Cup qualifying tournament to date after winning both their games, would have thought they were in with a chance of restricting the Netherlands to less than 300 after having them 180-2 after 35 overs.

Their lack of depth at the bowling crease was exposed, however, as the Netherlands took full advantage of having wickets in hand.

Charles Amini was again tidy, bowling his 10 overs of leg spin for 40 runs, taking Borren's wicket in the process.

Papua New Guinea now face Namibia at Mt Maunganui on Thursday, while the Netherlands head to Lincoln to take on Kenya.

- Taranaki Daily News

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