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Netherlands, Scotland collide with World Cup spot on the line

Last updated on 05 Jul 2023 | 11:55 AM
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Netherlands, Scotland collide with World Cup spot on the line

The Men in Orange not only have to defeat Scotland but will have to do it by a significant margin

The final of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2023 will be played on Sunday, but it won’t be as relevant as what we are going to witness at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Thursday (July 6). This tournament is more about making it through to the summit clash than actually winning it. The reason is simple: you qualify for the final, and that guarantees you a spot in the World Cup.

Sri Lanka are already through, while the remaining spot will either go to Scotland or the Netherlands. And that’s the match we are talking about. Zimbabwe had a chance to take that second spot on Tuesday, but Scotland got the better of them and managed to keep themselves alive in the competition. 

In fact, thanks to their superior Net Run-Rate (+0.296), Scotland now have a serious chance of featuring in the World Cup later this year in India. They won three of their four group-stage encounters, but an 82-run defeat against Sri Lanka hampered their NRR. They weren’t one of the favorites coming into the Super Sixes, but consecutive wins against West Indies and Zimbabwe have now put them in a commanding position.

Scotland will confirm their ticket to India if they beat the Netherlands. However, even if they lose and go down by a narrow margin, Richie Berrington and Co. can still sneak through based on their better NRR. Hence, there will be a lot more pressure on the Netherlands, who have an NRR of -0.042. They not only have to defeat Scotland but will have to do it by a significant margin.

The Men in Orange started their campaign with a six-wicket defeat against Zimbabwe before beating the United States, Nepal, and West Indies via a Super Over to progress into the Super Sixes. They failed to hunt down 213 against Sri Lanka but got the better of Oman by 74 runs (DLS method). The pressure is on Scott Edwards and his men. However, write them off at your peril. 

Netherlands’ batting vs Scotland’s bowling

The Netherlands have been one of the best batting sides in the tournament, while you could say the same about Scotland’s bowling, which will make this battle very intriguing. The former have three 310-plus scores (374 vs West Indies, 362 vs Oman and 315 vs Zimbabwe) in the competition. Meanwhile, only once in six innings Scotland have allowed an opponent to go past 250.

Let’s talk about Netherlands’s batting first. The likes of Edwards (288 runs @ 96), Vikramjit Singh (273 runs @ 45.5), Max O'Dowd (246 runs @ 41), Wesley Barresi (212 runs @ 35.33) and Teja Nidamanuru (174 runs @ 34.8) and Bas de Leede (162 runs @ 32.4) have all been amongst runs, with three of them having a strike rate of more than 100. Then there is someone like Logan van Beek, and we all know what he did against West Indies.

The Netherlands have the best batting average (40.6) and the second-best balls/wicket (38.8) and scoring rate (6.3) amongst all teams. They have batted with a traditional approach - saving wickets in the first powerplay and then going gung-ho in the last 10 overs. They not only have lost just three wickets in the powerplay but also have the best scoring rate (5.8). In six innings, Vikramjit and O'Dowd have two 100-plus and as many 70-plus opening partnerships. When it comes to the last phase (41-50), the Netherlands have the second-best scoring rate (9.9).

However, they might find it difficult to replicate those numbers against Scotland, who have the second-best average (23.3), balls/wicket (28.4) and economy rate (4.9) in this tournament. Those numbers get even better in the powerplay, where they have picked up the most number of wickets (17) amongst all teams. If Brandon McMullen can hit you with swing, Chris Sole can destroy you with his pace, which is exactly what he did against Zimbabwe. Scotland had only 234 runs on the board, but Sole picked up three wickets inside seven overs to push Zimbabwe on the back foot.

Leask, Watt finishing well with the bat

Scotland haven’t been great with the bat in this tournament, especially in the powerplay and middle overs. However, they have been able to post reasonable scores largely because of their exploits in the last 10 overs, with Michael Leask and Mark Watt doing the heavy lifting for them. 

In overs 41-50, Watt has smashed 114 runs at a strike rate of 140.7, while Leask has hit 113 runs at an SR of 163.8. Against Zimbabwe, these two put on 46 runs in 5.3 overs to propel Scotland past 230. Scotland also have Chris Greaves, who has contributed both with the bat and ball, and these three all-rounders are once again going to be crucial against the Netherlands.

Ground details

The Queens Sports Club has produced the best bowling numbers amongst the four venues used in this competition. The bowlers here have picked wickets at an average of 27.4 and a strike rate of 29.9. Both fast bowlers and spinners have almost similar numbers at this venue. 

Probable XIs

Netherlands - Vikramjit Singh, Max ODowd, Wesley Barresi, Bas de Leede, Teja Nidamanuru, Scott Edwards (c & wk), Saqib Zulfiqar, Logan van Beek, Ryan Klein, Aryan Dutt, Clayton Floyd/Vivian Kingma.

Scotland - Christopher McBride, Matthew Cross (wk), Brandon McMullen, George Munsey, Richie Berrington (c), Tomas Mackintosh, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole. 

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