Pakistan took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the one-day series against the Netherlands as they chased down a below-par 187 with seven wickets and 98 deliveries to spare.
Despite a career-best innings of 89 from Bas de Leede, the Dutch crumbled to their lowest total of the home summer in Rotterdam on Thursday.
After bowling out the Netherlands for 186, Pakistan made light work of the target, with half-centuries from Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and an enterprising Agha Salman.
Having opted to bat first, the Dutch top order once again left too much for the middle order to do as they floundered against the new ball.
All three batters lacked any footwork. Vikramjit Singh was the first to depart, edging a back of a length delivery from Naseem Shah to the keeper before Max O’Dowd chipped a catch driving a full delivery to mid-off.
Wesley Barresi left too much gap between bat and pad to see his off-stump knocked back, a similar dismissal to the first ODI, as the Dutch were reduced to 8 for 3 in the fourth over.
Needing to rebuild, De Leede and Tom Cooper (66) responded with a 109-run partnership for the fourth wicket. However, the duo were not luckless as de Leede was dropped in the slips on 0 and Cooper was caught off Shah’s bowling, only to be handed another opportunity after the bowler was ruled to have overstepped.
If de Leede played the anchor’s role, Cooper took the aggressive route, belting seven boundaries and two sixes to bring up his tenth ODI half-century.
He used the depth of the crease smartly against the spinners, regularly cutting them through the point region, but ended up slapping a catch back to the left-arm spinner and man of the match, Mohammad Nawaz (3-42) in the 26th over.
His dismissal precipitated a stunning collapse for the Dutch as they lost 6 wickets for 49 runs and never quite recovered, as wickets came faster for Pakistani bowlers than trams in Rotterdam.
De Leede continued his golden run of form, registering his second ODI fifty, and even had a maiden century in sight as he swung freely to collect two sixes and a boundary off Mohammad Wasim and Nawaz but was the last man out caught at long-on.
‘At the start, we probably went a little bit too hard,’ Dutch captain Scott Edwards reflected after the game. ‘Three-down after the first 10 overs is always hard to come back from. I thought Tommy (Cooper) and Bas (de Leede) were awesome but we just needed someone to go on with Bas out there at the end.’
‘This wicket does play well for finger spinners and he (Nawaz) was getting quite a bit out of the surface. It’s disappointing to just hand a few wickets away throughout the innings.’
Pakistan were jolted early in the chase as fast bowler Vivian Kingma made twin strikes in the fourth over to leave the visitors reeling at 11 for 2. Fakhar Zaman, the centurion from the first match, was undone by a delivery that bounced too much and lobbed a simple return catch to the 27-year-old paceman from The Hague.
Four balls later, Kingma pocketed Imam-ul-Haq for the second time in the series, this time caught at point.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan shared an identical partnership to Cooper and De Leede, respectively, in terms of the roles played, to revive the chase.
Azam raced out of the blocks, carting bowlers through the covers and in front of square to collect seven boundaries to bring up his eighth 50-plus score in nine trips to the crease.
Rizwan was more circumspect and hung around after Azam’s dismissal off Aryan Dutt to hit a patient 69.
Agha Salman, playing just his second ODI, made the most of the opportunity and lack of pressure, having come in at 99 for 3, to craft a fiery half-century off 35 balls. He struck five boundaries and two sixes, the second one off Kingma over long-on to seal the game in the 34th over.
‘We were thinking 250 would have had us in the game,’ Edwards rued. ‘If Bas and Tom probably would have got another 5-10 overs in, we would have adjusted up from there but as it was, we just couldn’t get going in the lower order.’
‘I still feel there’s a few positives to take. It’s the same thing, we just want that win so building on where we are, hopefully we get that win on Sunday.’
The sides meet for the third and final ODI of the series, and the Dutch home summer, on Sunday (August 21).
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