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JOHN BLAIN kept Scotland's Cricket World Cup dreams alive with a five-wicket haul as the Saltires stepped back from the brink to snatch a 26-run win over the Netherlands.

Another nightmare display from the Saltires batsmen had left the Scots' hopes hanging by a thread after an early collapse saw them stumble to 216-8.

But Yorkshire ace Blain took 5- 45 to finish the Dutch with eight balls to spare and rescue Ryan Watson's men - leaving the door open to 2011.

Blain said: "It says a lot for the side. We have so much character.

"I have played a lot of cricket with these guys and we've been in difficult situations before. You can never write us off."

Even after axing Nav Poonia - and moving skipper Watson out of his opening slot - the Scots were on the ropes on 59/5 as Dutch destroyer Edgar Schiferli tore into the top order.

But ex-England cap Gavin Hamilton piled up 52 to start the scrap off the canvas.

Man of the match Jan Stander finished 80 not out and Blain chipped in with a priceless 29 in a record ninth-wicket partnership.

Bas Zuiderent hit 67 as the Netherlands battled back from 22/ 3 - and they appeared ready to leave Saltires' ambitions in shreds.

But Dewald Nel (3-43) struck twice in two overs then Blain wiped out the tail to bowl out Jeroen Smits' side for 190.

Watson's men now face Kenya tomorrow needing two wins from their final Super 8 games to clinch a World Cup spot.

Blain added: "They're a good side. I know we haven't played fantastically but today was special. It's as good as any Associate nation could turn out."

Elsewhere, Ireland missed the chance to book their 2011 place with a surprise 22-run loss to Afghanistan to keep the tournament's shock troops in the mix. Canada boosted their qualification hopes with a seven-wicket defeat of Kenya.
 
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