DELHI: There are long-standing connections between Dutch and Australian cricket. It may not be as strong as the links between South Africa and the current Dutch team. However, captain Scott Edwards is an Australian national who grew up in Melbourne and played for Victoria’s No. 11 cricket team. He introduced a song by the Dutch team, shamelessly renaming a song by his favorite Australian Football League team, Richmond. A number of Australian players have had an impact on Dutch cricket, from Edwards to former Dutch national team coach Ryan Campbell, Tom Cooper, Tim van der Gugten, Michael Swart and Dirk Nannes. But no love is lost in Delhi on Wednesday. Netherlands are gunning for another big scalp, having already taken down South Africa and potentially missed an opportunity against Sri Lanka. Australia are looking to continue their momentum. They will not be taking the Netherlands lightly, but they would love a statement win having been tested at times against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
For all the links between to the two nations as far as players and coaches are concerned, Australia and Netherlands have only met twice in ODI cricket. Both matches were at World Cups, in 2003 and 2007, and Australia were ruthless, claiming big wins while tinkering with their line-up. In fact, she failed to win any of these tournaments.
The two teams faced each other in a rain-affected warm-up match in Thiruvananthapuram before this World Cup. Mitchell Starc scored a hat-trick in a game Australia were not taking seriously at all. Stephen Smith and Josh Inglis opened the batting with Alex Carey at three, Mitchell Marsh led the bowling without batting, but Marnus Labuschagne also bowled in the fourth over and Edwards’ I picked up a wicket.
Australia will not take this game lightly, as manager Andrew MacDonald admitted he will not rest his players on Monday. They know the Dutch will be well planned and the dual spin threat of Aryan Dutt in the powerplay against possibly two left-handed openers in David Warner and Travis Head if he is passed fit, plus Roelof van der Merwe against Australia’s vulnerable middle-order could certainly cause problems. Netherlands’ biggest challenge will be getting top-order runs. But Australia’s new-ball bowlers have not taken a powerplay wicket in the last three games, and Delhi has been an excellent batting strip.Steven Smith was considered vital to Australia’s chances in this World Cup given his experience in India and his prowess against spin. But Australia’s long-time No. 3, who is set to play his 150th ODI against Netherlands, is battling for form in ODI cricket this year and now may well find himself pushed to No.4 with the return of Head. Smith is averaging just 23.22 in ODIs this year from nine innings, including three ducks, and striking at just 81.64. His move to number four may not help his quest find some form. He has only appeared there once since the 2019 World Cup, in the final match against Pakistan, where he dropped down the table due to the match situation following Glenn Maxwell’s promotion. He has batted at number three in the last 29 ODI innings. His career average over 24 innings is just 34.31 at No. 4 compared to 52.60 at No. 3. His strike rate is slightly higher with No. 4, but it’s still not his favorite pitch.
Although they have dominated the opening games of the World Cup so far, the top two Dutch teams have never been able to improve their form. Max O’Dowd really struggled, giving up just 55 runs in four innings with a strike rate of just 57.89. He struggled to score 72 from a total of 95 dot balls, with 38 of his 55 runs coming from boundaries and just 11 singles. He did not play List A cricket between the World Cup qualifiers in July and the World Cup itself. His only match practice was in club cricket in the Netherlands, some of which was played on artificial turf pitches. It’s been a big challenge to accommodate some of the great new ball combinations he has so far in this tournament, and Wednesday’s matchup with Starc and Josh Hazlewood will only make that task even harder. Dew. However, the Netherlands will need to score some goals in the opening game to put pressure on Australia. Head arrived in Derry on Saturday after spending the first four games of the tournament with Australia at his home in Adelaide nursing a broken hand. After Saturday’s net session, he was optimistic that he would be able to play on Wednesday. He faced bowlers for the first time on Monday and survived the session. If he does play, he is expected to start alongside Warner, which would break up the in-form Warner/Marsh pairing. Perhaps Labuscagne will make way as a hitter.