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Netherlands keep the associate flag flying high

Last updated on 26 Jun 2023 | 04:55 PM
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Netherlands keep the associate flag flying high

You certainly can't take the Men in Orange lightly these days. Just ask the Proteas, Zimbabwe and West Indies!

It has been a season of orange for Netherlands head coach Ryan Cook. It all started in early April when he took charge of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) as the assistant coach and now a couple of months later, he is revelling in the success of the Netherlands, who have pulled off a heist at the Takashinga. To do so without 5-6 of their regular players missing out due to County commitments, is indeed a commendable effort.

Watching USA capitulate in the other game of the day at the HSC, one wondered if it would be a similar scene just a few kilometers down the road, where the Dutch were tasked to chase down 375 against West Indies.

While both sides had qualified for the Super Six, a win here would ensure that the team carried a two-point cushion into that stage.

While Netherlands' target of reaching the Super Six was a successful one, they would have wanted to go one better: One, topple West Indies, one of the favourites for the final two World Cup spots, and two, as an added incentive, have more points than them going into the next round.

With a wealth of experience over the last two years, where the Dutch have come face-to-face with teams like Pakistan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, South Africa and even the West Indies, they have more often than not ensured that they are not going to be pushovers.

Also read - Teja Nidamanuru interview

Their confidence was visible at the T20 World Cup last year, where they overcame Zimbabwe and South Africa to book a place at the mega event in the US and Caribbean next year.

They have carried that momentum into this tournament as well. Barring the loss to Zimbabwe, the Netherlands have been clinical in the remaining games.

They have contributions from absolutely everyone. Be it Max O'Dowd at the top, skipper Scott Edwards and Teja Nidamanuru in the middle or Logan van Beek at the death - with both bat and ball. 

Should Harare consider having a statue of Nidamanuru? Not many can say they've hit a match-winning ton at the HSC and the Takashinga, can they? 

His heroic effort today would not have been possible if he did not have his skipper Edwards at the other end. They put on 143 off just 90 to keep the Dutch in the hunt. 

They ran as though their lives depended on it. In fact, they kept dots to a bare minimum and put pressure on the fielders, forcing misfields. They struck the ball with purpose and toyed with the field.

Ahead of the game, Van Beek spoke about how special this fixture is to him, given that his grandfather Simpson Clairmonte Guillen started playing Test cricket for West Indies before migrating to New Zealand and eventually representing them.

His effort with the ball, his cameo in the end, and his devastating hitting of Jason Holder at the death, certainly did not make the former West Indies skipper or his side feel special, but what it has done is, it has given the Netherlands a massive step in booking their flights to India later this year.

Also read - Max O'Dowd: Netherlands getting pushed further down after Super League scrap

As far as West Indies are concerned, their assistant coach Carl Hooper had said that West Indies could indeed sink lower. He could not believe that the once Mighty West Indies have been reduced to competing in the Qualifiers to make the World Cup.

It's unsure if that was used as a motivation to egg the boys on. But as things stand, it has certainly backfired.

You certainly can't take the Netherlands lightly these days. If it wasn't clear till today, it's clear as day now. Just ask the Proteas, Zimbabwe and West Indies!

They have indeed kept the associate flag flying high.

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