Lucknow, Nov 3: Did they err in opting to bat first after winning the toss? Or, were they just could not match the brilliance of their opposition, who displayed excellent joint fielding and bowling skills to limit them to a paltry 179 in 46.3 overs.
These questions are bound to disturb the Netherlands, who elected to bat first against Afghanistan on a tricky Ekana Stadium track, here on Friday.
In reply, Afghanistan were inching towards victory, being comfortably placed at 176/3 in 31 overs.
Earlier, in th first innings of the 34th match of the ICC ODI Men's World Cup the Dutch could set a target of 180 before their charged up Asian rivals, who are no more only giant killers, but have evolved as a formidable side in world cricket.
With four of their key batsmen getting run out, the Netherlands' struggled against a spirited Afghanistan side, who were determined to excel in favourable bowling conditions.
The Dutch lost both their openers Wesley Barresi (1 in 4 balls) and Max O'Dowd (40 in 42 balls).
Barresi was the first to fall, as he was adjudged LBW to spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the 5th ball of the match. An elated Mujeeb, celebrated his 100th ODI wicket.
Then, there was a steady 70-run partnership between O'Dowd and Collin Ackerman till the 11.3 overs. But a direct throw by ever alert Azmatullah Omarzai sent back O'Dowd, an unexpected end to his fine innings.
After O'Dowd returned to pavilion, Dutch wickets fell in regular intervals. Colin Ackermann too was run out with a timely return by Rashid Khan and keeper Ikram Alikhil completed the formalities. Ackermann made 29 in 35 balls, with four clean his to the fence.
Skipper and backbone of Netherland batting Scott Edwards, too was run out by wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil in the very first ball he faced.
Bas de Leede edged a Mujeeb Ur Rahman delivery only to return to pavilion contributing on 3 runs in 6 balls. Keeper Alikhil pouched the catch. In 0.2 overs, the Dutch were reduced to 97/5.
Keeper Alikhil had more joys behind the stumps as he grabbed a catch by Saqib Zulifiqar, who helplessly edged a spinner Noor Ahmad delivery. The Dutch were soon forced to reel at 113/6in just 25.3 overs.
Logan van Beek was stumped by keeper Alikhil of Mohammad Nabi. His 13-ball struggle at the crease ended as he departed for just 3. The Netherlands were in real misery with 134/7 in 31 overs.
Sybrand Engelbrecht, the lone ranger in Dutch innings, was run out too after making 58 in 86 balls. Alikhil with Nabi had a joint timely fielding effort in getting him run out.
Young spinner Noor Ahmad had more success as he scalped Roelof van der Merwe, caught by Ibrahim Zadran for 11 in 33 balls. Merwe did his best to avert the eventual collapse, but finally got out.
Paul van Meekeren delayed the proceedings as he resisted 24 balls, but at last was LBW to seasoned Mohammad Nabi.
With four run outs, the Dutch middle order could only blame themselves for the poor show. The rest six wickets were shared by Afghanistan spinners.
Mohammad Nabi was the most successful with 3 dismissals for 28 runs in 9.3 overs he bowled. Noor Ahmad (2/31) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/40) also finished successfully in the wickets column.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (Captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wicket-keeper), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad and Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Scott Edwards (Captain and wicket-keeper), Wesley Barresi, Max O'Dowd, Colin Ackermann, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Bas de Leede, Saqib Zulfiqar, Logan van Beek, Roelof van der Merwe, Aryan Dutt and Paul van Meekeren.