The 2023 ODI World Cup has been a mighty important one for the Netherlands, with wins against South Africa and Bangladesh proving – to the world and itself – that it belongs on the biggest stage.
Now, the Dutch will square up against Afghanistan in Lucknow on Friday, with a win needed to keep their hopes for a semifinal spot alive.
For the Netherlands, the plan is simple, as explained by all-rounder Colin Ackermann on the eve of the match.
“We have got some momentum from our previous game against Bangladesh. I think we’re pretty lucky that we’ve played here before at this venue. So, we’re sort of familiar with the conditions from our game [against] Sri Lanka. So, I hope that will give us a few positives leading into tomorrow.”
Despite putting up a strong show in the tournament so far, the Dutch batters have failed to impress. Only skipper Scott Edwards has scored more than 200 runs in this World Cup, while the rest of the top-order has failed.
“We haven’t formed the foundation that we would have liked as a batting unit so far. We have to look individually at how we’re getting out. We haven’t played the perfect game yet with the bat. It just takes two guys to form a good partnership and we’ll set up a very good score,” said Ackermann.
On Friday, the out-of-sorts Netherlands batting unit will have to counter a formidable Afghan spin bowling lineup, led by leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
Ackermann, though, is unfazed, offering an insight into how his side will look to counter the Afghanistan spin threat.
“They have three very good spinners who have been successful in T20 cricket. The 50-over format is different. You don’t have to go after the spinners from ball one. It allows us to have a look at them to see how the conditions are playing out there. I think the teams that have done well against them have kind of taken the game deep and not given them any wickets in the middle overs,” added Ackermann.
Ackermann also emphasised that his side’s primary objective in this World Cup is to reach the semifinal, despite the possibility of making it to the 2025 Champions Trophy by finishing in the top seven.
“We know that if we win our next three games, we’ll make the semifinal. That is our focus at this stage. We’re not interested in what’s happening in two years.”
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