Netherlands vs. Pakistan: ODI Series Preview

The two sides face each other in a bilateral series for the first time, with the 3 ODIs part of the ODI Super League.

Pakistan tour Netherlands to play three crucial CWC Super League fixtures. The two sides have never clashed in a bilateral series previously. The visitors are set to play the Dutch side in three ODIs as the build-up towards the ODI World Cup next year gathers momentum. The tour is set to commence on Tuesday, with all three games to be played in Rotterdam.

The Men in Green have remained undefeated against the Netherlands in their previous three ODI encounters, with the last one being played in 2003. This series is also going to be the Netherlands’ first ODI assignment since playing England in June when they were whitewashed 3-0 by the visitors.

Pakistan

Squad

Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zahid Mahmood

Overview

In an attempt to find their ideal eleven for the World Cup next year, Pakistan have named a full-strength squad. On the back of a wonderful domestic season and a gutsy half-century in Sri Lanka last month, Salman Ali Agha has managed to break into Pakistan’s white-ball setup. The right-hander could slot in at five, where he has fared well in domestic cricket. Besides, his handy off-spin in the middle overs could provide Babar Azam with another bowling option.

Another notable inclusion is that of Naseem Shah, who has come in at the expense of Hasan Ali. Naseem’s white-ball numbers make for good reading, and his character is second to none. Last year, his exploits at the CPL made headlines, too, as he garnered praise from Dwayne Bravo as a death-over specialist. In the absence of Shaheen Afridi – who has been rested for at least the first two games – Naseem Shah is likely to be handed his debut cap.

Despite middle-order batting woes, Pakistan’s top order has been among the best in the world. Courtesy of Babar Azam’s unbelievable run of form, the genius of Imam-ul-Haq often goes unnoticed. The left-hander averages 56.9 in the last two years and strikes at over 90. Babar, on the other hand, averages 83.3 with a strike rate of a tad under 102. In the same period, the right-hander has scored six hundreds in fifteen innings - simply astonishing.

Despite the top-order exploits, Pakistan’s middle order has been a little short of confidence and form. Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan hasn’t been among the runs, while Iftikhar Ahmed and Saud Shakeel appear to have been discarded for the time being. Young wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Haris was given a chance against West Indies but was dismissed for two single-digit scores. While he retains his spot in the squad, he may not be an assured starter, facing competition from Salman Ali Agha. Agha scored 488 runs at an average of 49 and a strike rate of 97 in the Pakistan Cup held earlier this year in Multan.

On the bowling front, Pakistan have done reasonably well. The onus of leading the attack will be on the shoulders of Haris Rauf as Shaheen Afridi recovers from a knee injury. In his absence, however, the visitors will likely resort to their young pacers on the bench.

If everything goes to plan, Naseem Shah is expected to compliment Haris Rauf at the death. Haris Rauf’s phase numbers make for an interesting case study. His strongest phase is undoubtedly at the back end of the innings, but he enjoys bowling in the middle overs as well. Pakistan will rely massively on the 28-year-old to deliver once again, as he so often has.

Likely XI

Pakistan’s top four are seemingly locked, but they could experiment with the lower middle order. Shadab Khan could slot in at 5, but that is unlikely to happen. The likelier scenario is the debut of Salman Ali Agha, with Khushdil Shah batting at 6, with the all-rounders and pacers to follow.

  1. Fakhar Zaman
  2. Imam-ul-Haq
  3. Babar Azam [c]
  4. Mohammad Rizwan [wk]
  5. Salman Ali Agha
  6. Khushdil Shah
  7. Shadab Khan
  8. Mohammad Nawaz
  9. Mohammad Wasim Jr
  10. Haris Rauf
  11. Naseem Shah

Netherlands

Squad

Scott Edwards (c & wk), Musa Ahmad, Shariz Ahmad, Wesley Barresi, Logan van Beek, Tom Cooper, Aryan Dutt, Arnav Jain, Vivian Kingma, Ryan Klein, Bas de Leede, Tim Pringle, Teja Nidamanuru, Max O’Dowd, Vikramjit Singh

Overview

The Netherlands squad, compared to Pakistan’s, isn’t quite at full strength. A number of players are currently participating in The Hundred, while a few more are playing the Royal London One-Day Cup for their respective counties. Thus, the likes of Fred Klaasen and Paul van Meekeren miss out. Leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain, who had the misfortune of finishing with figures of 0/108 against England in the first ODI, misses out. Meanwhile, 20-year-old off Arnav Jain has received his maiden call-up to the ODI squad.

The Dutch side, on the contrary, will look to spring a surprise or two as they look to move up the CWC Super League table. The young side managed themselves reasonably versus England and, most recently, New Zealand. However, the lack of experience has been apparent. 38-year-old veteran Wesley Barresi, who last featured three years ago, has been recalled to the side.

The batting department has relied heavily on Max O’Dowd and Scott Edwards. O’Dowd has done solidly at the top, scoring two half-centuries versus England last month. Skipper Scott Edwards has been in rich form in ODIs, leading with the bat and the gloves. The 25-year-old was awarded the Player of the Series award earlier this year in January versus Afghanistan. The right-hander recently scored three consecutive half-centuries versus a formidable England bowling attack. Edwards could be a threat to the Pakistan bowling lineup, particularly the spinners – he averages 92 against spin in ODIs (SR 90). The hosts will expect him to fire again. However, they will also need the experienced Tom Cooper and Wesley Barresi to come good.

However, the Netherlands may face difficulty in constructing a bowling lineup that can threaten Pakistan. Their bowlers struggled against England, conceding a mammoth 498/4 in the first ODI. In the next 2 ODIs, England easily chased down middling targets of around 240 at 6+ and 8+ RPO with plenty of wickets in hand. The task will only get harder with Klaasen, van Meekeren, etc., unavailable.

Likely XI

  1. Max O’Dowd
  2. Vikramjit Singh
  3. Tom Cooper
  4. Scott Edwards [c & wk]
  5. Wesley Barresi
  6. Bas de Leede
  7. Logan van Beek
  8. Shariz Ahmad
  9. Ryan Klein
  10. Vivian Kingma
  11. Aryan Dutt

Expectations

Pakistan are likely to start as clear favorites, with their eyes set on the prized CWC Super League points. The Netherlands, however, will be eager to show their mettle and make a statement. Additionally, there’s the small matter of the Asia Cup coming up at the end of this month, where Pakistan could face India up to three times. Thus, gaining confidence here could be excellent preparation.

With inputs from Daniyal Shah.

 

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