T20 World Cup 2024 team preview: The Netherlands

Scott Edwards at T20 World Cup media day
Scott Edwards at T20 World Cup media day

Like fellow-Associates Scotland, the Netherlands has a cricket tradition going back to the nineteenth century. The side’s recent successes in both the ODI and T20 formats have come in part through the successful recruitment of Dutch passport-holders from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Sub-continental influence in the Dutch men’s game has grown steadily over the past forty years, and that is reflected in the current squad.

This is the seventh time the Netherlands has reached the T20 World Cup, and their scalps famously including two victories over England, at Lord’s in 2009 and in Chittagong in 2014, as well as their wins against Zimbabwe and South Africa last time out. In addition, they have played in five 50-over World Cup tournaments.

Participation in the now-abolished ODI Super League gave skipper Scott Edwards’s team a massive boost in experience and gamecraft, although they have frequently had to struggle with the absence of several key players who are contracted to English counties. With the withdrawal of Kent’s left-arm paceman Fred Klaassen, the only county-contracted player in this squad is Durham’s Bas de Leede. They will without question greatly miss the experience of Roelof van der Merwe in this tournament. But eleven of the 15-man squad played in India last year, while eight survive from the 2022 T20 Cup campaign in Australia.

How the Netherlands qualified?

A surprise victory over South Africa in Adelaide, their final match of the 2022 T20 Cup, saw the Dutch finish eighth overall and qualify directly for the 2024 event.

Fixtures

Tuesday, 4 June 2024, v Nepal, Dallas

Saturday, 8 June 2024, v South Africa, New York

Thursday, 13 June 2024, v Bangladesh, St Vincent

Sunday, 16 June 2024, v Sri Lanka, St Lucia

Key players

Captain Scott Edwards has a talismanic influence on his side, although his record with the bat is decidedly better in the 50-over format than in T20s. He is an astute captain in the field, a reliable and at times brilliant wicketkeeper, and by a distance the best batter against spin bowling in the team. There have been signs recently that he has worked hard to expand his range of scoring strokes, and once he returns to a settled position in the batting order – experiments with pushing him up the order have not really come off so far – he may become one of the real successes of the tournament.

Bas de Leede, son of former national captain and allrounder Tim and now playing under former Dutch coach Ryan Campbell, is still only 24, but he already has 91 caps for his country across all formats. A lively pace bowler and hard-hitting middle-order batter, he has a number of match-winning T20 innings under his belt, and although his economy rate as a bowler is high even by the standards of the shortest format, he has a knack of taking important wickets at crucial moments, and his average with the ball of 17.73 is impressively low.

Logan van Beek bowled consistently well in the recent tri-series against Ireland and Scotland, and he is certain to have a central role in the Dutch attack, looking to take early wickets and then returning at intervals to add a cutting edge or stem the flow of runs. His destructive power with the bat is attested by his Super-Over demolition of the West Indies’ Jason Holder in the 2023 ODI World Cup Qualifier, a feat which sees him securely inscribed in cricket history, and if that may prove to be something of a one-off, he will nevertheless be keen to make the most of any batting opportunities he may get at this tournament.

 The new kid on the block, Michael Levitt, introduced himself with a half-century and then a devastating 135 from 62 balls against Namibia in the tri-series in Nepal in March. In his first nine T20Is he has made 349 runs at 43.62 and a strike rate of 156.50, and his partnership with Max O’Dowd could give the Dutch a great start in the powerplay. Relatively unknown on the international scene, his range of aggressive strokes will present opposing attacks with new problems, and they will need to get him early if they are not to find themselves on the back foot.

Form Guide

Paradoxically, qualifying directly deprived the Netherlands of a raft of fixtures they might have had in this format, although 2023 was largely devoted to an ODI campaign which saw them sensationally qualify for India and then beat South Africa and Bangladesh – both drawn against them again in this group – when they got there. They have actually played only nine T20Is since the last World Cup eighteen months ago, winning a tri-series in Nepal, which included Namibia as well as the hosts, in February-March, and then hosting another with Ireland and Scotland last month. In the latter they twice took Ireland to the final ball, losing by 1 run and 3 runs, but after beating the Scots in their first game they suffered one of their traditional bad days, and were bowled out for 87 to lose by 71 runs.

Expectations

Progression beyond the group phase will demand that they beat at least one of their three Full Member opponents, as well as avoiding a potential banana-skin in their opening match against Nepal. The fact that they have recorded recent victories over both Bangladesh and South Africa, and added a surprise win against Sri Lanka in a warm-up game this week, is a two-edged sword: the one thing that is certain is that none of their Full Member opponents will take the Dutch lightly. One source of concern is the lack of a reliable, established death bowler, which has made it difficult for the side to press home any advantage they have gained earlier in their opponents’ innings.

Prediction: If all goes well, a place in the Super Eights. More probably, an honourable third place in their group.

Netherlands Squad

Scott Edwards (c and wk), Wesley Barresi, Logan van Beek, Aryan Dutt, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Kyle Klein, Bas de Leede, Michael Levitt, Viv Kingma, Paul van Meekeren, Teja Nidamanuru, Max O’Dowd, Tim Pringle, Vikram Singh, Saqib Zulfiqar.

Coach:  Ryan Cook

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