International

Know Your Opponent: Netherlands

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Netherlands came within a whisker of qualifying for the 2015 ICC CWC automatically through the ICC WCLC. Its record of eight wins, four defeats, one tie and one no result was a decent effort but successive losses to Scotland at the start of the tournament proved costly. Netherlands got itself back into contention with three straight wins before a defeat to Afghanistan that ultimately proved the difference. Despite this, Netherlands produced a strong finish to its programme, losing just once more and forcing a thrilling tie against runaway table-topper Ireland.

Wesley Barresi was his side’s leading run-scorer with 407 runs an average of 33.91 while Tom Cooper – whose younger brother, Ben, is now part of the team – scored over 300 runs. Skipper Peter Borren also led from the front with 280 runs to go with his 12 wickets. Netherlands performed consistently with the ball, having three bowlers in the top 20 of the tournament’s leading wicket-takers. Mudassar Bukhari led the way with 21 wickets at an average of 23.80; Timm van der Gugten took 16 wickets including a best of five for 24 against Canada; Pieter Seelaar took 14 wickets in just nine matches.

It was the bowlers who were again to the fore as the Netherlands progressed through the ICC WT20Q to this year’s main tournament in Bangladesh. Bukhari was again prominent in the list of leading wicket-takers with 16 victims. Fellow pace bowler Ashan Malik did even better, taking 21 wickets at the astonishing average of 10 to finish as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker. Barresi was again his team’s leading batsman, hitting 264 runs, with Stephan Myburgh the next best with 240.

Netherlands enjoyed a solid group performance, finishing second on the back of five wins and just two defeats. The Dutch got off to a fine start by dismissing eventual group topper Afghanistan for just 90 on the way to a seven-wicket victory. Skipper Borren made sure of an emphatic victory with 38 not out off 15 balls to steer his side home with 43 balls remaining. More success followed in the group stage before a batting collapse in the play-off against UAE meant a winner-takes-all game against Scotland – duly won by eight wickets thanks to Barresi’s 75 not out – and the Netherlands went on to seal fifth spot with a seven wicket victory over Hong Kong.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Mudassar Bukhari

Pace bowler Mudassar Bukhari was the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the ICC WCLC, finishing with 21 victims at an average of 23.80. Bukhari played his part in a number of Dutch victories but his best performance came at home to UAE in July 2012, claiming four for 32 as the visitor was bowled out for 96. The right-armer is also an outstanding 20-over performer and picked up 16 wickets at an average of 15.31 to help the side progress from November’s ICC WT20Q in the UAE. Bukhari twice claimed three wickets in an innings during the tournament – against Nepal and Kenya.

ICC World Cup Qualifier

When the tournament started many thought one could take Netherland’s world cup berth for granted. Even after losing to Namibia in the first match the Dutch were quite settled for easy super six entry. But Kenyan batsman Karim and Aga took Kenya massive victory over Netherland, as Kenya pipped the Dutch in NRR to finish third in Group

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