Not spoken to van Beek, need to see where he’s at: Scott Edwards
Pakistan was bowled out for 286 in 49 overs by the Netherlands, led by de Leede in particular, which kept responding with wickets while Rauf took the final wicket, possibly inescapably, by removing van Meekeren with a bail-trimmer to give Pakistan a shaky but ultimately successful victory.
The Netherlands had won the toss and decided to bowl first. In the first power play, the Netherlands were dangerous, starting with a spin that both of Pakistan’s left-hand openers struggled with.
Logan van Beek calmly received a pass from Fakhar Zaman, who showed no signs of regaining his form. But two wickets in five balls near the end of the power play gave the Dutch an even bigger boost.
Before Imam-ul-Haq hooked a bouncer from Paul van Meekeren down fine leg’s throat, Babar Azam failed to get underneath a long hop from Colin Ackermann and spooned one up to short midwicket.
But where previously Pakistan collapsed after the removal of the top order, today Pakistan’s middle order grabbed control from those depths of 38 for 3.
In addition to the consistently dependable Mohammad Rizwan, a late addition to the World Cup squad Saud Shakeel played a wonderful effort that balanced the innings. It gradually regained momentum back from the Netherlands and pretty quickly runs and boundaries started to flow.
Saud, who up until two months ago was thought to be too stodgy for shorter formats, took charge and sped to a 32-ball half-century without appearing to take a chance.
The footwork of the spinners was flawless, while anything full from the fast bowlers went back down the pitch. The innings were a masterpiece of technically brilliant and amazingly efficient. Soon after, they made a 100-partnership, and Pakistan regained control.
He was penalized when he made his first mistake and Aryan Dutt’s toe-edge shot flew into the air, and the Netherlands quickly regained momentum. Soon after, Rizwan, who had contributed to that stand, was defeated by a remarkable dipper from de Leede, who later in the same over also removed Iftikhar Ahmed.
The Pakistani spin-bowling all-rounders Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan’s explosive 64-run stand was the only thing that got them back to calmer waters, helped them reach 250, and gave them something to bowl at.
Pakistan was bowled out for 286 in 49 overs by the Netherlands, led by de Leede in particular, which kept responding with wickets and prevented Pakistan from batting out their full quota.
Despite losing Max O’Dowd early, the Netherlands got off to a strong start. He was struck down by a shorter ball from Hasan Ali that flew to a deep fine leg, but Vikramjit Singh launched an attack against Pakistan and made sure his team was maximizing the power play. Ackermann joined him before Iftikhar’s wild shooting caused a relatively early exit.
Poor shot choice pervaded the Dutch innings, but the partnership for the third wicket that was about to come gave Pakistan a real fright. The unstoppable de Leede was at the heart of it, maybe unsurprisingly, replacing Singh as the aggressor-in-chief.
A magnificent six off Nawaz over long-on made his intentions clear. Along with de Leede, Singh, who had a brief slump in the middle and had trouble with his technique and timing, regained his form. Shortly after, as the Netherlands piled on the pressure, Singh hit Shadab for a six.
But as soon as he reached his half-century, he was knocked down by a long hop from Shadab. The shot was on, but it was mishandled because a bottom edge went to the cow-corner fielder and the Dutch lost control of the game after that.
De Leede kept moving forward with grace and ease, but Rauf, who was back for a brief stint in the middle overs, took two out of three balls to end the Dutch innings.
Teja Nidamanuru pulled a short ball to midwicket before captain Scott Edwards was caught behind on the second ball. Iftikhar hadn’t dropped a dolly at first slip, Haris might have easily had a third the following delivery, but anyway, Pakistan now controlled the game.
After a brutal bouncer, De Leede continued to play with the same brashness that makes him so entertaining to watch, tonking Rauf for a six-one ball and reaching his half-century.
However, there wasn’t much assistance coming from the other side, and Logan van Beek was severely hampered by a hamstring issue. Shaheen struck to remove the struggling Saqib Zulfiqar before Nawaz took the prize scalp of de Leede, using an extra turn to knock back his off stump.
Van Beek could only stand and deliver, so he attempted that for a while, especially during a last-wicket stand with van Meekeren. The defeat was reduced to a two-digit margin and the Netherlands advanced above the 200 mark as a result.
Rauf took the final wicket, possibly inescapably, by removing van Meekeren with a bail trimmer to give Pakistan a shaky but ultimately successful victory.
There is tremendous space for improvement, and with two points and a positive net run rate, they have three days to do it before they play Sri Lanka, who will also be in Hyderabad.
Babar Azam, the Pakistan Captain:
“The way Hyderabad has supported us; we’ve been happy and have enjoyed the hospitality. I am satisfied with the result. Credit to the bowlers, we started well and took wickets in the middle. We lost three wickets while batting, the way Rizwan and Shakeel started took it away. The way Saud built his innings shows his improvement in building an innings. Our bowlers bowled well in the first ten. They stuck to the plan.”
Scott Edwards, the Netherlands Captain:
“It’s a bit disappointing. Firstly, we bowled and fielded well. We thought they were par. We thought we had a good chance at 2 for 120. Probably a bit of instinct. So many of our bats bowl spin. De Leede is a quality cricket in all three departments. His innings was awesome, just needed someone to be with him. Not spoken to van Beek, need to see where he’s at. This is a game that got away. We know they have quality bowlers but they took wickets which held us back.”
“Very pleased. Tried to follow my basics and be positive to score for my team. A nerve was there as we’d lost three wickets. I was lucky to get early boundaries. We discussed that the pressure would transfer if we scored, which did happen. The last 2-3 months, I’ve been working hard. I knew I’d be batting No. 5; I tried to improve my shots and attacking options and be brave. The coaching staff has given me confidence.”