The Netherlands kickstart their cricket World Cup qualification campaign against Zimbabwe on Tuesday in Harare with further Group A matches against tournament favourites West Indies, United States of America and Nepal to follow.
A top three finish in the group stage will see them through to the Super Sixes commencing on June 29 where they are likely to take on Sri Lanka and two of Ireland, Scotland, Oman and UAE from Group B.
The top two teams from the Super Sixes will then book their berth for the ten-team showpiece event to be held in India in October.
The Netherlands are at the qualifiers by virtue of finishing bottom of the 13-team World Cup Super League with only the top eight teams securing automatic qualification for the ten-team World Cup.
Scott Edwards’ side will be looking to overcome a disappointing seventh place finish in the last edition in 2018, also hosted by Zimbabwe, and progress to their first 50-over World Cup since 2011 thereby guaranteeing nine matches against India, Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and another qualifying team.
Should they make it, it will be their second consecutive ICC global tournament after the T20 World Cup held in Australia last year where the Men in Orange produced remarkable wins over Zimbabwe and South Africa in the main draw.
Despite the cut-throat nature of the tournament, head coach Ryan Cook is bullish about his team’s chances over the next three weeks and downplayed any expectations brought about by his side’s performances in the Super League and the T20 World Cup.
“I said to the guys that there’s no difference between going to the World Cup and being at the qualifiers. There’s only one way to get there and that is through the qualifiers. We are very fortunate that we played well last year at the T20 World Cup and qualified directly (for the next edition) which is unprecedented in Dutch cricket,” Cook told DutchNews.
“Having played here at the T20 World Cup qualifiers last year, we know all the teams are good on their day and have earned their right to be here. Obviously, we did get some good exposure against some of the major teams in the Super League and at the T20 World Cup. With that, we also had some great experiences playing in front of crowds and all kinds of different conditions around the world.
“It doesn’t put any expectations on us, we want to play the best cricket that we can play with the combinations we have available. There’s a good style of play we believe in and if we can play like that, we think we can beat any team in this competition.”
As has been the case for most of the Super League, the Dutch will be without their English county-contracted players in Brandon Glover, Roelof van der Merwe, Fred Klaassen, Paul van Meekeren, Colin Ackermann and Tim van Der Gugten with the exception of Bas de Leede, who has been a regular face in former Dutch head coach Ryan Campbell’s Durham side. Middle-order batter Tom Cooper was unavailable for selection and Tim Pringle still nursing an injury.
In their absence, Voorburg’s newcomers Michael Levitt and wicket-keeper Noah Croes will provide batting cover. The squad also sees the return of all-rounders Saqib Zulfiqar, in line for his first appearance since January 2022 on the back of an impressive Topklasse season so far, and Clayton Floyd.
The Dutch warmed up for the tournament by running Sri Lanka close in a three-wicket loss but bounced back with a thrilling two-wicket win over Ireland, spearheaded by Wesley Barresi’s unbeaten 90, last week. It followed a preparatory camp in Pretoria where the side beat Nepal and lost to Scotland in unofficial warm-up fixtures.
Unlike the last edition, Decision Review System (DRS) will be available for all matches from the Super Six stage onwards.
Squad: Scott Edwards (captain, wicketkeeper), Max O’Dowd, Logan van Beek, Vikram Singh, Aryan Dutt, Viv Kingma, Bas de Leede, Noah Croes, Ryan Klein, Teja Nidamanuru, Wesley Barresi, Shariz Ahmad, Clayton Floyd, Michael Levitt, Saqib Zulfiqar.
Travelling reserve: Kyle Klein
All matches start at 8AM CET
June 20: Netherlands vs Zimbabwe, Harare Sports Club
June 22: Netherlands vs USA, Takashinga Cricket Club
June 24: Netherlands vs Nepal, Takashinga Cricket Club
June 26: Netherlands vs West Indies, Takashinga Cricket Club
The Super Sixes are from June 29 with the final scheduled on July 9. All matches will be broadcast on Yupp TV.
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