The final game of the 2023 World Cup’s league stage will see a clash between table-toppers India and last-placed Netherlands, with not much on the line for the former.
The Men in Blue, having won all eight of their matches so far, have set up a semifinal clash against New Zealand. They will look to get their players back in rhythm after spending a week on the sidelines, in the aftermath of their superb win over South Africa.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, have won only two of their eight matches so far. They have an outside chance of finishing in the top eight and qualifying for the Champions Trophy, but things don’t seem too promising right now.
India are the clear favorites to come out on top on Sunday, owing to the clear gulf in quality between the two sides. On that note, here are three weaknesses in the Netherlands side the hosts can exploit in their 2023 World Cup clash.
#3 None of the Netherlands batters have been able to convert their starts
As many as six batters have notched up fifties in the 2023 World Cup, but none of them have been able to make a three-figure score. Scott Edwards’ unbeaten 78 in their famous win against South Africa is the team’s closest score to a century.
Sybrand Engelbrecht is the Netherlands’ leading run-scorer in the World Cup so far, with 255 runs in seven innings at an average of 36.42. He is followed by Edwards and Colin Ackermann, but none of the others have managed even 150 runs.
That’s a testament to the fact that the Dutch batters haven’t spent consistent time at the crease, something India will be all too happy to capitalize on.
#2 The Netherlands’ spinners aren’t out-and-out wicket-takers
The Netherlands experimented with playing Shariz Ahmad in one of their matches at the 2023 World Cup, but they’ve gone in with a finger-spin heavy attack most of the time.
While they have control and accuracy, the Dutch spinners aren’t necessarily out-and-out wicket-takers. Aryan Dutt, Roelof van der Merwe and Colin Ackermann all have ecomomy rates under six, but they have only 20 wickets between them in the 2023 World Cup.
India are bound to take the attack to the opposition spinners, especially at a ground like the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, where slower bowlers have struggled to keep run-scoring in check if they don’t pick up regular wickets. The Netherlands’ spinners might not be able get away with a defensive style of bowling.
#1 The Dutch openers have been terribly inconsistent in the 2023 World Cup
This has perhaps been the Netherlands’ biggest source of worry in the 2023 World Cup. No team has a poorer average for the first wicket, with the openers having struggled to deliver throughout.
Max O’Dowd has played in all eight matches so far, but he has tallied just 108 runs at an average of 13.5 and a strike rate of 68.35. Vikramjit Singh averaged 16.33 and struck at 65.33 before losing his place in the XI, while Wesley Barresi has managed 79 runs in three knocks.
India’s new-ball attack is firing on all cylinders, and they will be licking their lips at the prospect of bowling to an underperforming Netherlands top order.
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