PREVIEW WI vs NED: Heading into the final round of the league-stage matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, Windies find themselves in a position that will be the subject of envy for most of the other sides in the tournament, none more so than their opponents on Monday – the Netherlands. Windies sit happy and healthy at the top of Group A, having won their three matches so far, and boasting a healthy net run rate of 1.019. They have already sealed their place in the Super Sixes, and there has been an aura about them that adds an extra dimension to an already strong outfit. The Netherlands, meanwhile, came into the tournament as ICC World Cricket League champions, and were expected to go far. However, they find themselves in a desperate situation. They have lost two of their three matches, and are fourth on the table, behind all of Windies, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. They are two points behind third-placed UAE, and victory is imperative if they are to keep their hopes of going through to the next round alive. In fact, nothing less than a big victory against Windies will suffice, given that net run rate will come into play and the Netherlands’ currently reads -0.445. The Netherlands put together a welcome victory in their last outing against Papua New Guinea, winning by 57 runs after Sikander Zulfiqar’s half-century and Roelof van der Merwe’s 4/46. However, in perhaps tougher outings before that against Ireland and UAE, they lost by 93 runs (DLS method) and six wickets respectively. The problem area for Netherlands seems to be the batting. They managed just 149 against Ireland while chasing 243, and were bundled out for 176 against UAE in their next match. Even against PNG, their batsmen were guilty of not capitalising on starts, and they needed Zulfiqar to score a late half-century and push the total to 216/8. Windies might have already qualified, but they are unlikely to take their foot off the pedal, seeing that they are here to not just win and qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 but also make a statement. The Netherlands batsmen will have their work cut out for them against the likes of Kemar Roach, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite and Kesrick Williams, and how they fare in that battle will go a long way in determining their fate in the tournament.
Squads: The Netherlands: Peter Borren ©, Wesley Barresi (wk), Ben Cooper, Bas de Leede, Scott Edwards, Vivian Kingma, Fred Klaassen, Max O’Dowd, Pieter Seelaar, Shane Snater, Ryan ten Doeschate, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Sikander Zulfiqar.
Windies: Jason Holder ©, Jason Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams.