For the Netherlands, at the ODI World Cup, the prize lies in participation. Having found its way to the quadrennial event after toppling two-time champion West Indies in the qualifiers, the going will get even tougher for the Dutch in India.
Despite having participated in four World Cups, the Netherlands has never won a match against a Test-playing nation, with its two wins (in 20 attempts) coming against Namibia and Scotland in 2003 and 2007, respectively.
Hinge on the batting
The Dutch hope at the World Cup will hinge a lot on its batting lineup, led by skipper and wicket-keeper Scott Edwards, who has been the side’s top-scorer over the last three years.
Adding heft to the batting unit will be opener Vikramjit Singh, who top-scored for the side in the qualifiers and India-born middle-order batter Teja Nidamanuru, who scored a whirlwind century against West Indies during the qualification tournament.
The presence of capable all-rounders like Logan van Beek, Bas de Leede and Roelof van der Merwe — who returns to the side after missing the qualifiers — provides the Dutch team with some much-required balance at both ends.
De Leede, whose father Tim represented the ‘Flying Dutchmen’ in three ODI World Cups, had recently become only the fourth player to score a century and take a five-wicket haul in an ODI.
The 23-year-old achieved the feat during his side’s win against Scotland in the qualifiers, which secured the Dutch its spot at the World Cup.
The Netherlands’ bowling unit though will be significantly weakened by the absence of the left-arm pacer Fred Klassen, who misses out due to a stress fracture.
In recent years, the Dutch side had relied a lot on the restrictive nature of Klaasen’s bowling. Over the last three years, the 30-year-old picked up 22 wickets in ODIs at an economy of just 4.48.
Lack of quality spinners
The Dutch bowling will also be hampered by the lack of quality in its spin department.
Over the last three years, its spinners have picked up just 66 wickets, at a whopping average of 53.43 — a number which doesn’t augur well in the Indian conditions, which is expected to assist the tweakers.
It is unlikely that the Netherlands will make it to the semifinals.
But the Dutch side has the potential to upset a few apple carts on the way and improve its below-par record in the tournament.