Namibia and the Netherlands both need to recover from opening-match losses in Group A of the qualification phase at the 2021 ICC T20 Men’s World Cup. The Netherlands were beaten by seven wickets against Ireland, while Namibia slumped to defeat by the same margin against Sri Lanka on Monday. Now the two teams meet at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday desperate to keep their hopes of reaching the Super 12 alive.
For the Netherlands, hopes will rest on the bat of Max O’Dowd, along with the stingy bowling of skipper Pieter Seelaar. Meanwhile, Namibia’s chances of victory reside with gifted bowler JJ Smit.
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Namibia vs. Netherlands Preview
O’Dowd’s clash with Smit should determine the outcome. The former struck a noteworthy half century against Ireland. O’Dowd hit 51 off 47 balls, turning seven deliveries into fours. The 27-year-old played some exceptional shots before being caught by Harry Tector after thrashing at a delivery from Mark Adair.
O’Dowd was wrong-footed by a slower ball, but he’s still the man in form and his nation’s best means of winning:
What O’Dowd needs is better support. He received precious little of that against Ireland when the middle order floundered against Curtis Campher. The latter enjoyed a purple patch, turning a productive spell with the ball into a four-wicket day. Colin Ackermann, Ryan ten Doeschate, Scott Edwards and Roelof van der Merwe all fell victims to Campher’s brilliant attack. Ten Doeschate, Edwards and Van Der Merwe were each dismissed for a duck. At least one member of this quartet needs to step up against Namibia.
It would also help if Seelaar added a bit more to the late order. He could only muster 21 from 29 on Monday, but the captain has the talent and power to pile up runs in bunches. Former New Zealand under-19 star Logan van Beek is also yet to show the true velocity he can muster in front of the wicket.
Rather than banking on improvements in the middle and at the end, head coach Ryan Campbell could shake things up at the top of the order. It would mean ditching O’Dowd’s opening partner Ben Cooper, who was also out for a duck on Monday, for Stephan Myburgh, who posted decent numbers ahead of the tournament.
However the Netherlands line up with the bat, Smit will be tasked with wrecking the order. He’s more than capable, but the left-handed pacer bowled just the one over against Sri Lanka. Smit still managed to chuck four dots and claim the wicket of Dinesh Chandimal. Skipper Gerhard Erasmus should unleash Smit earlier on this time.
Fortunately for Erasmus, the Namibia attack won’t just be about Smit. He’ll also be able to count on Bernard Scholtz. The 31-year-old lefty took one for 16 on Monday and is an ideal fit for the slower pitches in Abu Dhabi. Scholtz will curb the pace and trick more than a few Netherlands batters into some rash and errant swings.
If Smit and Scholtz can be effective with the ball, they’ll control the Netherlands order and give Erasmus and Craig Williams the chance to set a winning total.