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CWC 2023 Qualifiers: Tracing Netherlands’ journey to CWC 2023

CWC 2023 Qualifiers: Tracing Netherlands’ journey to ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. Netherlands qualify for ODI World Cup 2023 along with Sri Lanka.

CWC 2023 Qualifiers: Netherlands qualify for ODI World Cup 2023 along with Sri Lanka. Walking Wicket (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
Netherlands qualify for ODI World Cup 2023 along with Sri Lanka (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)

The Netherlands cricket team defied all odds by becoming the only associate nation to feature in the 2023 Cricket World Cup which will be held in India later this year. The Dutchmen are all set to make their fifth appearance in the 50-over World Cup and also their first since the 2011 World Cup.

They entered the World Cup Qualifiers 2023 as underdogs and faced an uphill challenge of competing against high-quality sides, two of which were full member nations. However, they turned the table upside down and stunned the cricketing fraternity by putting up some scintillating performances to power their way to the 2023 World Cup.

Netherlands managed to go to the Super Six after beating West Indies in the group stage

The modern-day Netherlands cricket team is a much improved side. The team has leveled up their game and is packed with promising overseas talent from different pockets of the world who are loaded with a tremendous amount of potential to compete at the highest level. However, the flying Dutchmen found themselves in a slight spot of bother as they were approaching the crucial Qualifiers tournament. They entered a momentary rough patch in limited-overs cricket by losing the ODI series to South Africa and Zimbabwe ahead of the tournament. But all of that changed once the 2023 CWC Qualifiers got underway.

After going down against hosts Zimbabwe in the opening match of the Qualifiers, the flying Dutchmen kickstarted their winning streak which compelled cricketing gurus and avid cricket fans to take cognisance of the team’s underlying potential. In their second game against the United States, Netherlands put up a clinical show which helped them earn a comfortable 5-wicket victory with 40 balls to spare. The Dutch bowlers did a commendable job to restrict the USA to 211. In the end, Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards rose up to the occasion and scored a well compiled 67 (60) to steer his side to an easy win. By this time, the team had already started brewing in confidence.

In their following game against Nepal, Logan van Beek, Bas de Leede, and Vikramjit Singh ran through the defences of the Nepali batters to skittle them for a paltry score of 167. Netherlands encountered no major hurdles as they chased the target down with ease by a comfortable margin of 7 wickets.

Their most emphatic moment came against the now-fallen West Indies team where they were tasked to chase a colossal target of 375 runs to keep their World Cup dream alive. And boy, they did not fail to entertain one bit. The task seemed improbable at first as never before had the flying Dutchmen ever scored anything beyond 350. Besides, no one even expected the game to go down to the wire. After receiving some terrible thrashing in the first innings, the Netherlands cricket team was in no mood to back down.

With a daunting total on board, the Dutch top order got into the act and started scoring runs in full swing. They took it one step at a time and relied on building partnerships. Despite being slightly behind the required run rate, Teja Nidamanuru upped the ante and played a blinder of innings scoring 113 at a jaw-dropping strike rate of 146. He went ballistic towards the back end of the innings smashing 11 fours and 3 sixes which got the equation down to a manageable rate. He was well supported by the skipper Scott Edwards who scored a robust 67 (47). It all seemed over following their dismissal, but Logan van Beek and Aryan Dutt had other plans. They staged a massive counter-offensive and played some breathtaking shots to take the game deep but could not get over the finishing line.

With the scores level, the game ended in a tie and the game progressed to a super over. That is when Logan van Beek unleashed his wrath and clobbered Jason Holder to all parts of the ground. He primarily targeted the shorter boundary on the leg side and smashed the experienced Holder for 30 runs. In the end, the target proved way too much for the Windies as they were dismissed for just 8. Van Beek was the true hero of that game and bagged the Player of the Match award for his match-winning performance.

CWC 2023 Qualifiers_ Netherlands qualify for ODI World Cup 2023 along with Sri Lanka. Walking Wicket (Images_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Netherlands all to make their 5th appearance in ODI WC (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
The Dutch leveled up against Scotland in a do-or-die game in the Super Six stage

Finally, in the crucial do-or-die match against Scotland, Bas de Leede stole the limelight and delivered a match-winning all-round performance of 5/52 and 123 (92) which helped Netherlands secure an ODI World Cup ticket to India later this year. This was one of the most fierce battles the Netherlands were ever involved in. They could not afford any slips up in this game and required their main players to step up. De Leede was one of them who shined with the bat and the ball when it mattered the most.

His maiden five-wicket haul helped Netherlands restrict Scotland to 277 for 9. His figures of 5-52 included 34 dots as he conceded only 5 boundaries and 1 six. Netherlands were required to chase down the stiff target inside 44 overs to beat Scotland in terms of NRR. Around the halfway mark, they looked all but out of the contest, before de Leede smashed 123 off 92 balls, his first ODI century, to power them over the line in 42.5 overs, with four wickets to spare. He scored at an exhilarating rate of 133 which featured 7 fours and 5 sixes.

They even managed to scare the former World Cup champions Sri Lanka by bundling them out cheaply for 213 in the league stage. Although with high-quality spin bowlers on their side, Sri Lanka were able to survive the scare and contain the onslaught of Scott Edwards who at one point looked like running away with the game. Nevertheless, despite ending up on the losing side, they made Sri Lanka work hard for their runs and wickets as they barely managed to win by a slim margin of 21 runs.

Netherlands are a force to reckon with

One has certainly seen a glimpse of how Netherlands as a team can fare against full member nations. Despite being short on experience, the Netherlands cricket team are surely a force to reckon with. Teams can no longer be complacent against them while taking them on. They will need to offer them the same amount of respect as they do with other full member nations or risk facing a shambolic humiliation like the West Indies.

The Men in Orange have a reputation for staging massive upsets in the ICC events. England have been knocked over twice by the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup back in 2009, and later in 2014 in a shocking fashion. Later in 2022, the flying Dutchmen prematurely ended South Africa’s road to the World Cup semi-final by restricting them 13 runs short of their target. And later this year, they hogged the limelight again by eliminating the once-almighty West Indies from the 50-overs World Cup for the first time in the history of cricket.

Making it to the World Cup tournament is no ordinary feat, especially for an associate nation who are mostly devoid of any competitive cricket. And with the ICC strictly adhering to a 10-team tournament format, this milestone will certainly instill a lot of positivity in the Netherlands cricket team which will inspire the next generation of cricketers to take up this spot more seriously.

A lot of surprises await one as the addition of Netherlands in this year’s World Cup is bound to garner a lot of buzz and excitement. Competing teams will definitely need to watch out for the likes of Scott Edwards, Bas de Leede, Logan Van Beek and Max O’Dowd who have the ability to take the game away at any given minute.


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