T20 World Cup: All-round De Leede takes the Netherlands top of Group A
Brief scores: Netherlands 122 for 5 (Vikramjit 39, O’Dowd 35, de Leede 30, Smit 2-24) beat Namibia 121 for 6 (Frylinck 43, de Leede 2-18) by five wickets
Yet another disciplined bowling effort and top-order contributions took the Netherlands to the top of Group A in the T20 World Cup as they beat Namibia by five wickets on Thursday to stay unbeaten.
In many ways, it was a repeat performance from Sunday against the UAE as the Dutch, although comfortably placed for most parts of the chase, overcame a late flurry of wickets to chase down 122 with three balls to spare. Bas de Leede turned in another player-of-the-match performance with his all-round contributions of an unbeaten 30 with the bat to follow his two wickets at the death.
Having opted to bat first, the Namibian side, who would have been brimming with confidence having toppled the group favourites Sri Lanka just two days ago, struggled for momentum as they were reduced to 32-3 in the powerplay.
Jan Frylinck, who played a starring role in his side’s historic win against Sri Lanka, top-scored with a 48-ball 43 and held the Namibian innings together. De Leede, in his new role as a death bowler, snuffed out Frylinck and captain Gerhard Erasmus two balls apart in the 19th over as Namibia could only manage 121-6.
In response, the Dutch front-loaded the runs by attacking the new-ball, averse to the slowness of the pitch. It proved to be a wise ploy as the older the ball got, the more difficult it proved to hit boundaries. As they reached closer to the target, it allowed the middle-order to accumulate singles and knock off the runs.
‘The surface was a little bit two-paced in a way where the quicker balls that skidded through stayed quite low, and then you had the odd, slow ball which held. So, it was tough to really hit through the line,’ De Leede explained in the post-match press conference.
‘[On such a surface] it takes one boundary to get us ahead, [so we] always tried to get as deep as we could. You then pretty much wait for the one ball you could hit.’
Vikramjit Singh flayed the fast bowlers all over the park in a stylish knock of 39, which included three fours and two sixes, in a 59-run partnership with Max O’Dowd, who played second-fiddle with a run-a-ball 35.
De Leede iced the chase after a mini-collapse that saw the Dutch lose Tom Cooper, Ackermann and Scott Edwards in a nervous passage of play that fetched only a solitary run across ten balls.
Eventually, De Leede swatted a boundary over mid-off before a sprint for two sealed the chase in the last over.
Despite the two wins, the Dutch need to beat Sri Lanka on Thursday. If not, they will hope Namibia lose to UAE to pip them on net run-rate or that rain washes out both encounters.
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