ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – Netherlands eye upset over India to keep Champions Trophy hopes alive

The Netherlands’ slim semi-final hopes were mathematically brought to an end with their 160-run loss to England in Pune on Wednesday. The margin of defeat left them bottom of the points table heading into the final round of fixtures and their ambitions of qualifying for the 2025 Champions Trophy with a top-eight finish will likely rest on them beating India on Sunday.

It would be a monumental result. India have won eight games out of eight, sweeping their opponents aside to secure top spot in the group and a semi-final berth against the team that finishes fourth; the Netherlands are the only Associate nation at the World Cup and appear to be running out of steam after consecutive defeats.

But the Dutch will head to Bengaluru believing they can turn over the tournament favourites. “It’s a game of cricket, right?” Teja Nidamanuru said on Wednesday night. “Obviously, you need a bit of luck. There’s no doubt that they’re a very strong team and they’ve been playing very good cricket, but funnier things have happened in the game.

“To play arguably the best team in the comp, at the top of the table, is something that we’re very excited by and it’s another opportunity for us. Every time we step on the park, we’re trying to showcase our skills and do the best that we can, especially being at the World Cup and coming through the journey that we’ve done.”

The Netherlands have never previously played a full international fixture at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru and are expecting a loud crowd. “Obviously it’s got an amazing atmosphere there,” Scott Edwards, their captain, said. “The boys are looking forward to it. We’ll talk about this game and what we could have done better, then we’ll start preparing for that.”

Edwards’ analysis of Wednesday’s defeat was simple: “We didn’t start well with the ball. We let them get away from us. I thought the bowlers did really well to drag it back and again, they just got away from us at the end there to set probably just above par. And then, same old story with the bat.”

The Netherlands were also left to rue a missed chance off Ben Stokes, who was dropped on 41 off the 52nd ball he faced when Aryan Dutt put down a tough catch at fine leg off Logan van Beek. Stokes soon shifted gears, eventually falling in the 50th over for 108 off 84 balls.

“When it comes to big players and taking those half-chances, we definitely pride ourselves on doing that as a fielding unit,” Nidamanuru said. “We practise those as well – a lot. It is a little bit disappointing, but I don’t think you can put [the result] down to that one opportunity. It also comes back to being able to execute our bowling plans and being disciplined as well.”

Nidamanuru, who finished unbeaten on 41 off 34 balls, said: “We haven’t put together the ideal game yet, if I’m really honest… we are a growing and a learning group of cricketers as a whole team, and we pride ourselves on that. I have no doubt that we’ll get back to the drawing board, discuss this game and take that forwards.”

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