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Sense of familiarity greets Pakistan and the Netherlands in Hyderabad

Last updated on 05 Oct 2023 | 10:37 AM
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Sense of familiarity greets Pakistan and the Netherlands in Hyderabad

Pakistan have played both their warm-up games at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium

Netherlands are far more familiar with the country's weather pattern than most of the teams at this year’s ODI World Cup. They have been in the country for almost a month now and have trained endlessly at the Karnataka Cricket Association Stadium (KSCA) in Alur with an eye on causing a few upsets in the upcoming competition. 

Last year, at the T20 World Cup, the Orange gave a new lifeline to Pakistan’s T20 World Cup campaign, which almost ended after losing against Zimbabwe, with a win over South Africa. But it is now time to put aside that friendship and take account of their opponents, who are one of the favourites going into the competition. 

Pakistan, who perhaps were nervous about returning to India after a complete decade, feel more at home than ever. Right from landing at the airport to the reception at their respective hotel room to the flock of crowd at the venue and the weather, Pakistan have been welcomed with warmth. 

If anything, their connection with the southern state of Telangana brings them closer home with the shared love of Biryani. Babar Azam’s men couldn’t have asked for a better welcome. But now it is time for them to put aside the rust and focus on the two points. 

Things to watch out for

How do Pakistan replace Naseem Shah?

If the two warm-up fixtures are an indication of the wicket here in Hyderabad, it is that we are in for a high-scoring encounter. In both encounters, runs have flown, with Pakistan scoring 345 and 337, and both times, they were left wanting for another quality bowler. That’s perhaps the biggest thing for Pakistan to solve: how do they replace Naseem? 

There are two options in front of them: Hasan Ali's experience or Mohammad Wasim Jr.'s exuberance. If Hasan was expensive in the first clash, conceding 66 runs, he was great in the second fixture against a strong Australian batting unit. On the other hand, Wasim remained expensive across both games, conceding runs at 8.28 and 7.87 RPO. 

Also Read: Asian sides strongest on pace front, South Africa lag behind

If the warm-up fixtures indicate anything, Pakistan will likely tilt their combination towards the experience of Hasan, giving the all-rounder an opportunity to rewrite a new chapter in the Pakistan green. 

The Netherlands need to fix their batting

Despite being in the country for some time now, the Dutch side haven’t quite found their way around tackling pace bowling. In the first clash against Karnataka, which was part of their preparation camp, the Dutch top seven were all out for a duck, courtesy of Koushik. It continued in the clash against Australia, where three out of the top four were out for a duck against Mitchell Starc.


Courtesy: KSCA / Pramod Ananth

Pakistan primarily are a pace-heavy side, with their spinners perhaps the worst among all World Cup spin units. So, it is properly stacked against the Dutch side, who would have to face their worst fear - pace bowling. The responsibility then would be on the shoulders of the two batters - Vikramjit Singh and Bas de Leede.

Given that there are plenty of spinners to turn the ball away from the right-handers, the impetus would be on the left-handed Vikramjit to tackle the challenge. 

Ground Details

In this World Cup, Hyderabad is allotted three games, of which two will be on consecutive days. Despite being known as one the biggest grounds (by field of play dimensions), the bowlers have struggled. Batting teams have scored at a run-rate of 5.9 in the last five ODIs, the joint-second highest.

Pacers have generally fared better regarding wicket-taking, with 65 wickets being taken by pacers. But that comes at a cost, with an economy of 5.9 for the pacers. On the other hand, spinners have picked up 30 wickets, averaging 42.9 at the venue. 

Also Read: Venue guide feat Bengaluru, a batters paradise, to Delhi, a bowlers heaven

From a batting standpoint, the average first-innings score at the venue is 288, but teams need to score over 300 if they want to win the clash. Out of seven clashes, four have been won by teams batting first. 

Tactical Insights

- The Netherlands’ problem against pace doesn’t end there. Interestingly, they have the second-lowest average against left-arm pacers (LAPs) in ODIs since 2021. The Netherlands averaged 20.6 against left-arm pace, with a run-rate of 4.4. Interestingly, Pakistan’s only LAP option is Shaheen Afridi, and he bowls a lot in the powerplay, a segment where the Netherlands average 46.5. 

- Babar Azam remains key for Pakistan, and if not removed early on, he will pose a big threat to the Dutch side’s chances of a win. But he has a weakness against off-spin, which has been repeatedly exposed. That’s where Aryan Dutt can come of good use for the Dutch side. The off-spinner has picked up Babar’s wickets twice, with the Pakistani batter averaging just 12 against him. That’s the second-worst average against a bowler for Babar (Min: 2 wickets). 

Team News and Probable XI

Pakistan have a call to make, they might have to choose between Hasan Ali and Mohammad Wasim Jr for the third-pacer role. Barring that, they also have a choice to make between Agha Salman and Saud Shakeel.

Pakistan’s Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali

The Netherlands, on the other hand, would be happy to welcome Roelof van der Merwe back into the mix for the World Cup. 

Netherland’s Probable XI: Vikramjit Singh, Max O’Dowd, Wesley Baressi, Bas de Leede, Teja Nidamanuru, Scott Edwards (wk and c), Roelof van der Merwe, Logan van Beek, Saqib Zulfiqar, Aryan Dutt, Paul van Meekeren

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