WT20 : Netherlands vs Bangladesh, World T20 Preview
The Netherlands has produced some stunning upsets in previous editions of the ICC World Twenty20, and it will hope to continue in the same vein in 2016
The scenic hill town of Dharamsala is silently gearing up for its biggest carnival. All preparations are towards the India-Pakistan encounter scheduled on March 19 but before the big feast is the appetiser, in the form of the ICC World Twenty20 first-round Group A matches where Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland and Oman clash for a solitary spot in the Super 10 stage of the tournament.
It starts with Bangladesh taking on Netherlands in the first of the two games at the HPCA stadium on Wednesday (March 9).
Bangladesh is the favourite, for both Wednesday’s match and to go through to the main draw from Group A. Bangladesh’s rise started with the World Cup 2015, where it reached the knockouts for the first time. It has never looked back since and went on to win series against Pakistan, India and South Africa at home in One-Day Internationals.
Its T20 form was a question mark but Bangladesh answered that too in style at the Asia Cup. It defeated Sri Lanka and Pakistan on the way to the final, where it gave a strong Indian side a decent fight before ending second best.
Much of the credit for Bangladesh’s rise should go to Mashrafe Mortaza, its captain. He has been an inspirational leader who has blended established stars and talented youngsters to form a formidable unit, especially in subcontinent conditions. Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim provide the experience, while the likes of Soumya Sarkar, Shabbir Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman and Al-Amin Hosain bring in versatility and a fearless approach.
Among the few things that could go against Bangladesh is injury concerns to Mustafizur and some other key players that could be exacerbated by the tight scheduling. Bangladesh played the high pressure Asia Cup final on Sunday night, reached Dharamsala on Monday evening and hit the nets on Tuesday morning.
Mortaza said the team would take a call on Mustafizur’s fitness on Wednesday and conceded that adjusting to the conditions, especially the altitude, was difficult.
“We didn’t had much time to practice and adjust but I guess we will take much confidence from the Asia Cup final,” he said on the eve of the match. “India is similar but here (Dharamsala) there is difference. You need to adjust to the breathing in particular. It was cold last night and we have to play two matches in night. We will have to adjust and play at our best.”
Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain, agreed that Bangladesh were the favourite. He will know, though, that his side will be no pushovers. It has a history of causing upsets in World T20s; it has defeated England twice and stunned Ireland in 2014 chasing down 190 in 13.5 overs to qualify for the Super 10s. And while most teams were busy playing in different countries, Netherlands arrived in India and had a training camp in Bangalore to acclimatise to the conditions.
Netherlands finds itself here after sharing the World T20 Qualifiers trophy with Scotland. Its warm-up matches weren’t ideal – A loss to Afghanistan and a wash out against Scotland – but most of its key batsmen – Stephan Myburgh, Wesley Barressi and the Cooper brothers Ben and Tom hit decent form.
It has firepower in the form of Roelof van der Merwe, who forms a left-arm spin combination with Pietar Seelar.
It’s not often that Bangladesh is saddled with the tag of clear favourite but that’s precisely the situation for the next three games. How it copes with that, and Netherlands’ giant-killing history make it an interesting clash to watch out for.
All this, if the highly unpredictable rain gods of the Himalayas stay away.
Netherlands: Peter Borren (capt), Wesley Barresi, Logan van Beek, Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Tom Cooper, Timm van der Gugten, Vivian Kingma, Ahsan Malik, Paul van Meekeren, Roelof van der Merwe, Stephan Myburgh, Max O’Dowd, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Arafat Sunny, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rehman, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan, Al-Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed, Mohammed Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman.