Netherlands – 2019 Season Review

Results Summary:

ODIs:     P 2          W 2        L 0          T 0          N/R 0

T20Is:    P 22        W 12      L 7          T 1*        N/R 1

*Tied game vs Zimbabwe was lost in a super-over

By comparison to their European counterparts in Ireland and Scotland, the Dutch have had a much quieter year, but not one without incident or drama. Coach Ryan Campbell’s goals for the year were to expand the pool of players ready for selection in international cricket, and to qualify for the 2020 T20 World Cup. Both of those goals were achieved.

Netherlands started the year along side Ireland and Scotland with a T20I quadrangular series in Oman. They claimed the opening game of the tournament against the Scots, chasing down 154 with 1 ball to spare and win by 7 wickets thanks to a solid 71* from opener Tobias Visee. The took the second game against Oman as well, despite Oman surging to a competitive total of 166/4, the Dutch top 4 all fired to get them over the line with 7 balls to spare.

Knowing they needed to win or tie the final game against Ireland to take the series, they got off to a flying start through Visee and O’Dowd, making it to 116/0 in 9 overs. From there they were pinned back by a flurry of wickets but made it to 182/9. Fred Klassen and Paul van Meekeren kept the Irish chase largely in check with 7 wickets between them, Ireland needed 12 off the last over, which was then reduced to 6 off the last ball. They couldn’t defend it, and the loss pulled them back to finish the series in 2nd place.

The Dutch would then have to wait until June for their next international outing, when Zimbabwe toured for 2 ODIs and 2 T20Is. Bowling first in a game shortened to 47 overs per side in the 1st ODI, the bowling attack combined to take early wickets and restrict the tourists to 205/8. The chase then pinned around an unbeaten 86 from ODI debutant Max O’Dowd, and the hosts cruised to victory.

The 2nd ODI was a less straightforward affair. Again bowling first, they were unable to break down the opposition like they did in the first ODI as Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor and Sikanda Raza helped Zimbabwe post 290/6. Knowing that they’d need to produce their highest ever successful chase to claim the series, the Dutch got of to a strong start but slipped away and by the 33rd over they were 167/5. A quick 50 from Roelof van der Merwe and back up from keeper Scott Edwards kept them in the chase, but when captain Peiter Seelaar smashed 32 in 15 balls, the hosts were suddenly ahead of the game. The took the match with 4 balls to spare and in doing so took their first ever ODI series win against a full-member.

Next, the T20I series, and the hosts picked up where they left off, rapid fifties for both Cooper and van der Merwe as they set a total of 199/6. The Zimbabwean response started well but quick wickets in the middle of the innings from Seelaar and Klassen took the wind out of the visitors sails and the Dutch won by 49 runs.

Mirroring the ODIs, the 2nd T20I was a much tougher test. Despite a fifty for O’Dowd at the top of the order, the Dutch could only make 152/8 in 20 overs. They managed to hold Zimbabwe to 97/6 after 14 overs but Burl and Chigumbara put the visitors back in the driving seat, so much so that they only needed 1 to win from the final 4 balls. Cue a dot ball followed by a van der Merwe ‘hattrick’, a tie and a super over. Despite the normal-time comeback, the hosts could only manage 9 in response to Zimbabwe’s 18, so the series finished 1-1.

August saw The Netherlands host the UAE for 4 T20Is. With many of their star players in Canada for the GT20, Ryan Campbell used the opportunity to try-out some younger players and test the bench strength. The host were outplayed in all 4 matches and lost the series 4-0. Whilst some of the more established players in O’Dowd and Cooper fired, the younger players failed to make a serious impression, with legspinner Philippe Boissevain and medium-pacer Sebastiaan Braat making the most impact.

This would be the first of a series of T20I wobbles from the Dutch. With their stars back from franchise cricket, and in the absence of the Euro T20 Slam, the team headed for Dublin for a tri-series with the other affected European nations. Game 1 against Ireland was washed out, and when they came up against Scotland in game 2, they were faced with the brute force of George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer. The 200 run opening stand the put on culminated in a total of 252/3. The Dutch simply had no answer. Max O’Dowd’s solitary over went for 32 runs. Seelaar made a 49 ball 96* in reply but the Dutch fell a whopping 58 runs short.

The bounced back in game 3, keeping Ireland to 181/7 with Brandon Glover taking 2-19 from 4 overs, and then chasing down through a 144 stand between O’Dowd and Cooper, the latter making 91*. Their final game saw them slump again. Batting first against Scotland, none of their batsmen got going and in the face of Scotland’s spin attack were bowled out for 123. Scotland knocked it off with ease and the Dutch finished in 3rd place.

Ahead of their final test of the year – the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in the UAE – the Dutch prepped with a pentagular series in Oman against Ireland, Hong Kong, Nepal and the hosts. Their first match saw them take on rivals Ireland. A 65 from Ben Cooper helped raise them to 167/7, but they were unable to take wickets to hold Ireland back, who completed the chase with 11 balls to spare. In the second game against Nepal, the Dutch batting struggled against the bowling of Lamichhane and Karan KC, and they were bowled out for 133. In reply, the bowlers gritted their teeth and got stuck in, restricting the opposition for much of the match and leaving the Nepalis with 17 to win from the last over, but could not defend it, losing by 6 wickets with 1 ball to spare.

Next up were hosts Oman. This time the Dutch batting collapsed against the spin of Khawar Ali and Zeeshan Maqsood who took 4 wickets each as the Netherland were skittled for 94. The hosts needed to make minimal effort to complete the chase. The final game came against Hong Kong, and the Dutch batting finally started to come together with fifties for Visee and van der Merwe and a flashy 40 from Scott Edwards producing a total of 185/4. Glover and Seelaar were then able to keep a lid on things as Hong Kong could only post 148/7 in reply and the Dutch avoided the wooden spoon.

Going into the qualifiers questions were asked of the Netherland’s form, having won only 2 of their previous 11 T20Is and losing both their warm-up games. Grouped with Scotland, Namibia, PNG, Singapore, Kenya and Bermuda, they still had strong odds of qualification, but looked under-pressure.

Any pressure they were actually feeling was released in their first game as they cruised past Kenya as Max O’Dowd made a 50 in the Dutch total of 166/4. Despite resistance from veteran Collins Oboya, tight bowling and early wickets allowed for a 30-run win. They then swept aside Namibia, the seamers bowling out the opposition for 96 to win by 44 runs, and followed it up by skittling a surging Singapore for 101. Despite wobbling at 65/5 in the chase, van der Merwe and Colin Ackermann saw the Dutch home to their third straight win.

Now in a strong position, game 4 saw them take on PNG. This proved a much tougher test as the Barramundis kept the Dutch under intense pressure in the field, keeping the Boys in Orange to 126/7. The total proved too little, despite the strong Dutch bowling and PNG took the game by 5 wickets. Up against Bermuda, the Dutch bounced back, making a mammoth 206/3 built on a record 1st wicket stand of 123 from O’Dowd and Cooper and then demolishing the Bermudian batting to win by 92 runs.

Going into the final game against Scotland, the Dutch knew they needed to win comprehensively to overcome PNG at the top of the table. Clever bowling at the Scottish batsmen help restrict them to 130/8, meaning the Dutch would need to get to 131 in 12.3 overs to top the group. It didn’t materialise, loosing early wickets. An unbeaten fifty from Ryan Ten Doeschate saw them home, but the Dutch would finish 2nd and as such proceed to the playoffs.

In the qualifier playoff against the UAE, the five Dutch seamers shredded the opposition batting, reducing the top order to 9/5 in the first 5 overs. Brandon Glover took 4-12 and the UAE only managed 80/9. The Dutch barely wobbled in the chase, and completed their qualification.

But one more prize remained. They took revenge against Ireland in the semi-final, 158 proving too strong a total for the Irish. In the final, the met PNG for the second time. This time bowling first, they were able to keep the pressure on PNG, with Glover and van der Merwe taking the lion’s share of the wickets as the Barramundis were kept to 130/8. The Dutch weren’t given full control of the game, but led by the experience of Ten Doeschate and Ackermann saw the Dutch get over the line with an over to spare, and take home the trophy.

Despite a late summer wobble, 2019 has been an excellent year for Dutch cricket, exceeding expectations in both ODI and T20 cricket. It sets up well for what will be a huge couple of years for the associate nation with the possibility of two T20 World Cups and the ODI Super League coming up.

The Netherlands have already got some huge fixtures lined up in 2020. Their home summer sees them host New Zealand for a T20I in June. They will also host Namibia, the USA and Oman for an ODI quadrangular series in late June, before the jewel-in-the-crown, hosting Pakistan for 3 ODIs at the start of July in the first of their Super League campaigns. In September, they will travel to Zimbabwe for what will be on of the most crucial Super League series if the Dutch are to avoid a 13th place finish. Finally, October sees them taking on Bangladesh, Scotland and Namibia in the first round of the T20 World Cup, and with an extra spot available in the 2nd round, there is an opportunity for even more big games.

Published by Tom Grunshaw

I periodically post things about cricket

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