Dubai, Apr 19: Netherlands has stayed on course for a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after winning both their fifth round 50-over matches in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship against Namibia at Windhoek.
Netherlands beat the host by 31 runs in the first 50-over match on Tuesday and then made it two out of two on Thursday by winning the second match by one wicket in a tightly contested match, an ICC media release said on Friday.
The double-win means that Netherlands overtakes Scotland and Afghanistan, both on 11 points, to sit in second position on the WCL Championship table with 14 points.
The top two sides from the WCL Championship will qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The final two positions in the ICC's flagship event will then be determined at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be staged in New Zealand in 2014.
Netherlands' final two round matches are against table-topper Ireland and Canada, while Namibia will play Afghanistan and UAE. Netherlands will need to win three of its remaining four matches to guarantee its automatic qualification for the ICC World Cup 2015.
While Namibia is now out of the race for automatic qualification, the remaining rounds will provide vital preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014, which will be held in New Zealand.
In the first match of their fifth round encounter, an all-round team performance steered Netherlands to a 31 run victory, despite a dashing 116 from Namibia's Craig Williams, while half centuries from Wesley Barresi and Daan van Bunge set up the second victory in a thriller on Thursday.
On Tuesday, wicket-keeper Wesley Barresi (60) set the foundation for the Netherlands' innings after a shaky start, and a quickfire ninth-wicket partnership of 47 runs between Mudassar Bukhari and Timm van der Gugten brought the total to 268. Despite a fast-paced 116 from Craig Williams, Namibia was all out for 237 in the 49th over.
On Friday, a 104 run opening partnership between Xander Pitchers (48) and Raymond van Schoor (93 not out), and an unbeaten 51 from Nicolaas Scholtz, saw Namibia reach 236 for 5 from its 50 overs.
Barresi (58) and van Bunge (60) anchored the run chase, but the loss of quick wickets put pressure on the Netherlands. It was left to the tail enders to finish the innings, and Netherlands eventually reached 237 for nine, with 12 balls remaining.