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Match Preview – Namibia vs Netherlands, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 7th Match, First Round Group A

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Preview

Namibia might stick with the XI that lost to Sri Lanka but Netherlands could bring in Stephan Myburgh and Timm van der Gugten

Big picture

The cruelty of the big time will catch up with one of Namibia and Netherlands on Wednesday, with the T20 World Cup dream ending for the team that is defeated. Such is the first round of the T20 World Cup, where two losses are too many, and the pressure of rising from an early stumble ever greater.

Both Namibia and Netherlands had poor starts to the competition. Namibia were bowled out for their joint-lowest score in a T20I and Sri Lanka then finished the small target inside 14 overs. Netherlands were rocked by a Curtis Campher hat-trick – four wickets in four balls – which took out their middle order and allowed Ireland to chase down a modest score with 29 balls to spare. The margins there also mean their net run-rates aren’t great.

The expectations from the Dutch, who won the qualifying event two years ago and have significant major tournament experience in their squad, would be more. But Namibia expect a lot of themselves, and would have been disappointed with the way they performed in their first World Cup match in 18 years, especially after their intense preparatory period.

The big-picture aside there are also a few sub-plots – of the South African kind – here. Namibia’s David Wiese and Netherlands’ Roelof van der Merwe used to play for the same South African domestic side, the Titans, for example, so expect some fireworks and plenty of familiarity amid the desperation to prolong their T20 World Cup stay.

5:07

WATCH - Ireland brush past Netherlands in their T20 World Cup opener

WATCH – Ireland brush past Netherlands in their T20 World Cup opener

Form guide

Last five completed matches, most recent first

Namibia LWLWW
Netherlands: LLTWW

In the spotlight

Craig Williams was Namibia’s best batter in their match against Sri Lanka after coming into this tournament on the back of an impressive run. Williams has scored four half-centuries in his last five T20I innings, against Uganda, UAE, Scotland and PNG, and averages 41.14 in the format this year. If Namibia are to improve on their batting performance, they need Williams to do well and at least one other batter to support him. A middle order which includes captain Gerhard Erasmus and Wiese has enough to post a big score, but the proof will be in the pudding.
Between Ryan ten Doeschate and van der Merwe, Netherlands have 638 T20 caps but neither of the veterans had the opening match they wanted. They both recorded ducks after becoming the second and fourth victims of Campher’s four-wicket burst, while van der Merwe was the most expensive bowler for Netherlands on the day. With ten Doeschate set to retire after this tournament and van der Merwe likely to be contemplating similar before the next event, the focus will be on them to see if they can lift their team.

Team news

Despite the poor batting in the opening match, Namibia are likely to go in with the same XI.

Namibia: 1 Stephan Baard, 2 Zane Green (wk), 3 Craig Williams, 4 Gerhard Erasmus (capt), 5 David Wiese, 6 JJ Smit, 7 Jan Frylinck, 8 Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, 9 Ruben Trumpelmann, 10 Pikky Ya France, 11 Bernard Scholtz

Netherlands have former Northerns player Stephan Myburgh in the squad and while they might want to call on his experience, they will have a tricky time making room for him. Netherlands may gamble with leaving out Ben Cooper or Bas de Leede in favour of Myburgh, who has not played a T20 since August 2019. They may also consider replacing Brandon Glover with Timm van der Gugten in the attack.

Netherlands: 1 Max O’Dowd, 2 Ben Cooper/Stephan Myburgh, 3 Bas de Leede, 4 Colin Ackermann, 5 Ryan ten Doeschate, 6 Scott Edwards (wk), 7 Roelof van der Merwe, 8 Pieter Seelar (capt), 9 Logan van Beek, 10 Fred Klaasen, 11 Brandon Glover

5:02

WATCH - Sri Lanka beat Namibia

WATCH – Sri Lanka beat Namibia

Pitch and conditions

Monday’s Group A matches were low-scoring, but that is more a reflection of the line-ups than the conditions in Abu Dhabi, known to be usually good for batting. We could now be in for a close contest, whether low-scoring or in a run fest. The surface will, however, still be low and slow. And it will be another scorcher.

Stats and trivia

  • Namibia and Netherlands have only played one T20I against each other, in the qualifier for this tournament in 2019. Netherlands won by 44 runs then.
  • Namibia have been bowled out for under 100 twice in their T20I history, first against Netherlands in the match above, and then again on Monday, when they lost to Sri Lanka.
  • Quotes

    “We don’t necessarily have to go back to the drawing board. We have a very good game plan. We back ourselves in strike rotation and play spin well, which we just didn’t execute tonight. The spirit in the camp is extremely high. We back ourselves obviously against the Netherlands, we back ourselves against Ireland, and let’s see where those games take us.”

    Craig Williams is not taking Namibia’s opening defeat to Sri Lanka too badly.

    “Two must-win games. We’ve got Namibia, who we’ve played before, and we know their strengths, we know their weaknesses, and we’re going to have to go out and beat them.”

    It’s a straightforward case of must-win for Netherlands, according to opening batter Max O’Dowd.

    Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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    Recent Match Report – AUS Women vs ENG Women Only Test 2021/22

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    Report

    Megan Schutt is not part of the Australia line-up in Canberra

    England won the toss and decided to bowl against Australia

    Heather Knight gave her bowlers the chance to find some early help from the Canberra surface after putting Australia into bat in the one-off Ashes Test with both sides fielding a debutant.

    Legspinner Alana King came into the Australia side and is part of an attack that does not feature the experienced Megan Schutt who is being carefully managed ahead of the ODI World Cup. Darcie Brown, Annabel Sutherland, Tahlia McGrath and Ellyse Perry are the pace-bowling options.

    Schutt contracted Covid-19 late last year which has affected her conditioning and the selectors have an eye on the World Cup next month, but a CA spokesperson said she was medically fit for selection.

    In an interesting batting-order tweak, captain Meg Lanning was listed at No. 5 with Beth Mooney, playing just 10 days after fracturing her jaw, due to come in at No. 3.

    England have handed a first cap to offspinner Charlie Dean in a side with five specialist bowlers which was flagged yesterday by Knight. She will support left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone while the experienced trio of Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole and Kate Cross make up the pace attack alongside allrounder Nat Sciver.

    The opening day is set fair although there is the forecast of some storms over the weekend. The Test carries four points in the multi-format series – if Australia win they will retain the Ashes.

    Australia 1 Rachael Haynes, 2 Alyssa Healy (wk), 3 Beth Mooney, 4 Ellyse Perry, 5 Meg Lanning (capt), 6 Tahlia McGrath, 7 Ashleigh Gardner, 8 Annabel Sutherland, 9 Jess Jonassen, 10 Alana King, 11 Darcie Brown

    England 1 Tammy Beaumont, 2 Lauren Winfield-Hill, 3 Heather Knight (capt), 4 Nat Sciver, 5 Sophia Dunkley, 6 Amy Jones (wk), 7 Katherine Brunt, 8 Charlie Dean, 9 Anya Shrubsole, 10 Sophie Ecclestone, 11 Kate Cross

    Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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    West Indies tour of India

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    News

    Bonner, Bravo and King strengthen batting for India tour after shock Ireland defeat

    Desmond Haynes has marked his first squad since replacing Roger Harper as West Indies’ lead selector by handing Kemar Roach an ODI recall after two-and-a-half years out of the side for February’s series in India.

    Roach is one of six additions to the squad that lost 2-1 at home to Ireland this month, with Roston Chase and Justin Greaves among the players dropping out of the squad after lean series with the bat.

    Fabian Allen has recovered from Covid-19 and replaces Gudakesh Motie in the 15-man squad, while Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo and Brandon King strengthen the batting group and Hayden Walsh Jr offers an extra spin option. Jayden Seales and Devon Thomas, neither of whom featured against Ireland, also lose their places.
    Roach has not played any white-ball cricket – either List A or T20 – since his most recent ODI, against India in 2019 but Haynes said that he had been recalled with an eye on early wickets.

    “Kemar Roach is one of our leading fast bowlers,” Haynes said, “and we believe we need bowlers up front to get early wickets. Kemar, with an economy rate of five, is certainly good enough to play.”

    The three-match ODI series, which will be played in Ahmedabad on February 6, 9 and 11, is part of the ODI Super League which forms the pathway for the 2023 World Cup, which is scheduled in India in October-November next year.

    After the shock series defeat against Ireland, which preceded the ongoing T20I series against England, West Indies captain Kieron Pollard had underlined that his team had a “batting problem”. Having successfully defended 269 in the first ODI against Ireland, West Indies struggled in the final two matches, scoring 229 and 212.

    Greaves struggled in all three matches and has now been replaced by Bonner, who made his ODI debut in Bangladesh series last year. Haynes said that Bonner had come on “leaps and bounds” in recent years and that he deserves “an opportunity to play in the 50-over format” and stressed his desire for competition for places ahead of the 2023 World Cup in India.

    “We want to have competition for places,” he said. “We want to reach a stage where we have a lot of players fighting for positions. We want to broaden the pool of players we have to choose from. The team we have selected is a very good side and we are looking at this tour as part of the preparations for the World Cup in India in 2023.”

    While the India tour also comprises three T20s, which will be played in Kolkata on February 16, 18 and 20, Haynes’ panel has opted to wait for the England series to finish before picking the squad.

    West Indies ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Nkrumah Bonner, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr



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    England players deserve medals, not criticism after getting through Ashes series

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    Paul Collingwood believes that the Ashes were “one step too far” and that he is genuinely concerned about the long-term implications on the mental health of players that Covid bubbles are causing.

    Speaking in Barbados, where he is standing in for Chris Silverwood as head coach during England’s T20I series against West Indies, and on the island where he became England’s first ever World Cup-winning captain, Collingwood spoke explicitly on the realities of life in the bubble, and fears that the long-term impact of the pandemic on cricketers may be severely damaging.

    “I don’t think people have understood the impact and the effects that these bubbles have had,” Collingwood said. “Going to the Ashes off the back of a tough bubble in Dubai, I think was literally one step too far.

    “You can’t even explain what it’s like until you experience it. The simple fact is you cannot walk out of your front door and as soon as you’re told that you cannot do something as simple as going for a coffee, and you are penned in with the same guys. A lot of people will say ‘that must be fun’ and ‘you’ve got a lovely hotel’ [but] it hits you.

    “Take someone like Chris Woakes, the most loveable and down-to-earth guy. I have seen him in some serious mental states. We have seen Ben Stokes, someone we consider to be the most mentally tough cricketer in the world, being hit by this. I just hope there are no ramifications moving forward because when they come, they won’t be obvious next week or the week after. These are things that might come out down the line. That’s what scares me.”

    The England players underwent strict quarantine on the Gold Coast, and managed only two full days of match practice going into the first Test in Brisbane. Rory Burns’ golden duck set the tone for a dismal series as England were bowled out for 147 on the first day and went on to lose 4-0, hanging on for a draw in Sydney while nine wickets down.

    Despite England’s hammering, Collingwood stressed that England were facing an impossible task. “I reckon if you had given us the best England cricketers in the Ashes from the last 100 years and put them in the same environment that those boys have lived in over the past two years with the preparation that we had going into this Ashes even they wouldn’t have had a chance,” he said.

    Collingwood was part of the England squad that won the 2010-11 Ashes down under and understands precisely the physical and mental levels required to compete in Australia. He retired from international cricket after that winter and since then, England have failed to win a Test match in Australia, across 15 attempts.

    Collingwood was part of a group alongside Silverwood, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Woakes and Mark Wood that spent six weeks in a bubble in the UAE, before flying to Australia for their quarantine period on the Gold Coast and insisted that the lack of meaningful preparation only compounded the situation.

    And while he admitted that England made mistakes at the toss and in selection, he said that players should be praised for the efforts they had made in getting through the series in a strict environment, suggesting that Cricket Australia should have agreed to a compromise rather than packing five Tests into a short window during the pandemic.

    “You are burnt out from the start after your team has been in the intense environment of a World Cup,” he said. “It wasn’t club cricket that these players were coming from. Then there’s just two days of preparation before going into the Ashes. Australia is the hardest place to go to when you’ve got your best team in form and everyone’s playing consistently. We’ve seen that from the past.

    “Yes, we made mistakes, 100%. We made selection mistakes, we made toss mistakes, but the fact we actually turned up and agreed to a five-match Ashes series, the guys should be given medals for that. It would’ve been much better if we’d done two matches and then three next year. That would’ve been a great compromise.

    “But no, Australia were not bothered that they were going to receive an England team who were mentally fatigued, they just wanted to get the product out there. They just wanted the Ashes. These guys deserve medals, not criticism. They should be told ‘well done’ for even going. It’s the equivalent of the England football team being asked to go to a World Cup, then from that bubble into the Euros. Would you expect a performance from that scenario? It’s ludicrous.”

    Ahead of another hectic schedule for England in 2022, which includes tours to West Indies, Netherlands, Pakistan and Australia, as well as a jam-packed home summer and another T20 World Cup in October, Collingwood hopes that at least in England, they can operate without bubbles, but fears that the damage may already have been done – not just for England players but also for cricketers around the world.

    “I almost think it is too late to get these messages across,” he said. “These sorts of things should have been brought out in the middle of last summer. We saw the signs then when boys were fading, and it is not healthy for the game. This isn’t just us. We have obviously played the most amount of cricket, but it will catch up with other teams as well.”

    Aadam Patel is a freelance sports reporter who has written for BBC Sport, the Daily Mail, ESPNcricinfo, the Cricketer and other publications @aadamp9



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