The excitement is palpable as one of the most enthralling tournaments in world cricket is almost upon us. The ICC T20I World Cup gets underway this month, and we preview the 16 teams that will be competing to lift the famous trophy. Here we have the lowdown on the Netherlands.

With an intriguing side that features a great mix of youth and experience, the Netherlands go into the ICC T20I World Cup well placed to upset the big guns. Their squad features a number of familiar names who have played T20 cricket all across the globe. And if they find a way to shake off their rustiness, the Men in Orange could well end up making a splash in the UAE this month.

Recent Form

Unfortunately for the Netherlands, they have only played five ODIs and five T20Is so far in 2021. Their preparations for the tournament have been far from ideal. The Dutch have won three of their five ODIs and also managed to earn a series win over Ireland in July. But they suffered a heavy defeat to Nepal in the final of a tri-series that also featured Malaysia in April. Although they were missing a number of their key players in that series.

Biggest Strength

The Netherlands’ biggest strength has to be the quality of their bowling unit. Featuring the likes of Timm van der Gugten, Paul van Meekeren and Fred Klaassen, the Dutch pace battery has a lot of firepower. Add to that the various spin bowling options their squad possesses, and opposition teams will certainly struggle to score runs against them on the pitches of UAE.

Biggest Weakness

The Netherlands have no shortage of bowling options in their ranks. But their batting looks a bit weak compared to some of the other teams they will be competing against. While Max O’Dowd and Ben Cooper have shown good form this year, their middle order does not contain a lot of specialist batsmen. They will be reliant on veteran all-rounders like Ryan ten Doeschate, Roelof van der Merwe and Colin Ackermann to deliver with both bat and ball. And it remains to be seen if the veterans will be able to make the desired impact.

Aussie born Timm van der Gugten is a key part of the Dutch attack.

What the media are saying

The Netherlands have been labelled as a team with ample strength in all aspects of the game. And there is a sense of cautious optimism that they can stun Ireland and Sri Lanka and qualify for the Super 12s. The Dutch still go into the qualifying stage as the third favourites. But they can take inspiration from *that* win over England in 2009 as they look to make it to the Super 12s.

Max O’Dowd made history by becoming the first Dutch cricketer to hit a century in a T20 International

Star Player

One player who could be set for a big tournament is Max O’Dowd. The opening batter has been in fine form since the turn of the year. And his runs will be crucial to the Dutch hopes of making it to the Super 12s. O’Dowd has one hundred and one fifty to his name in 2021. He also has a very healthy strike-rate and will be a potent threat at the top of the order for the Netherlands.

 

Bas de Leede scored an unbeaten 81* in a recent T20 International against Nepal earlier this year

Keep an eye on…

Highly rated batter Bas de Leede could be one to watch at the T20I World Cup after his impressive exploits with both bat and ball in recent months. The 21 year old made a strong impression during the tri-series in April, and followed that up with a decent showing against Ireland. While he is primarily a middle-order batter, de Leede is also capable of bowling medium pace. He is someone who could well end up stealing the spotlight at this World Cup.

Projected XI

Max O’Dowd, Stephan Myburgh, Colin Ackermann, Scott Edwards (wk), Ryan ten Doeschate, Bas de Leede, Pieter Seelaar (c), Roelof Van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Timm van der Gugten, Fred Klaassen

Prediction

The Netherlands have a very versatile squad that features a number of match-winners. So they certainly won’t be easy to play against. But the task at hand is hardly straightforward, as they will have to overcome the challenge of Sri Lanka, Ireland and Namibia to reach the Super 12s. Sri Lanka are the strong favourites, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top between the Netherlands and Ireland.