Netherlands know Oman feelgood can be shortlived
Friday, March 11, 2016, Dharamsala
Start time 1500 local (0930 GMT)
"The lad at the back end played really well," said William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, after his side's defeat to Oman. Everybody knows the "lad" now. The 37-year-old marketing manager of an Indian restaurant in Oman. Bespectacled and the antithesis of a modern athlete, Amir Ali has led Oman to a win in their first match on the world stage, against Ireland, who were technically in their eighth straight world event. How much of the "first round" of this tournament is a world stage is up for debate.
For now, though, Amir and Oman are the toast of those who are tired of the political machinations around the India-Pakistan clash. Yet such is the nature of the event that they will enjoy this for just two days. Their next opponents, Netherlands, know the feeling only too well. They were the darlings of the 2014 World T20 with that sensational chase against Ireland, but where are they now? Almost out of the tournament after just three hours in it and an eight-run defeat.
Oman will look to surprise Netherlands as they did Ireland. Netherlands will be playing for survival, Oman to avoid being just a fleeting feel-good story for one night. A win keeps Netherlands alive, a win followed by a win for Ireland against Bangladesh in the evening gives Oman a great chance to qualify for the main draw. If Oman and Bangladesh win, it becomes a straight shootout between the two teams on Sunday. Netherlands want to avoid that. They will need to bat well against unorthodox bowling, and know well they can't bowl length to the Oman batsmen, who can hit the big shots.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
Paul van Meekeren's World T20 began with a fairly simple catch dropped at third man, but he made up for it with the first ball he bowled, using his height and extra bounce to draw the edge from the batsman he reprieved earlier, Soumya Sarkar. He bowled four overs for 17 runs and two wickets to give Netherlands a good chance at an upset win against Bangladesh. They will want more of the same from him.
Ajay Lalcheta set the pace for Oman's upset win over Ireland, bowling slow and canny left-arm spin at the start of the match. He began the match with a maiden to William Porterfield. Oman promise they have more such unknown quantities.
Netherlands might be tempted to beef up their batting at the expense of Logan van Beek; Pieter Seelaar, the left-arm spinner, was in the XI but didn't bowl in the last game so the bowling should not be that big an issue.
Netherlands (probable) 1 Stephen Myburgh, 2 Warren Barresi (wk), 3 Ben Cooper, 4 Peter Borren, 5 Tom Cooper, 6 Roelof van der Merwe, 7 Pieter Seelaar, 8 Max O'Dowd/Logan van Beek 9 Mudassar Bukhari, 10 Timm van der Gugten, 11 Paul van Meekeren.
Oman have promised similar attacking and unpredictable cricket. They will like to retain the winning combination, though.
Oman (probable) 1 Zeeshan Maqsood, 2 Khawar Ali, 3 Jatinder Singh, 4 Adnan Ilyas, 5 Mehran Khan, 6 Aamir Kaleem, 7 Amir Ali, 8 Sultan Ahmed (capt. & wk), 9 Ajay Lalcheta, 10 Munis Ansari, 11 Bilal Khan.
Pitch and conditions
The slow and tired nature of the Dharamsala pitch, which looks like concrete from a distance, has come as a surprise. Teams might put more emphasis on spin and cutters here. Weather had been dodgy leading into the tournament, and after a beautiful first day there are showers predicted for Friday.
Stats and trivia
- This is the first time Netherlands are facing Oman in an international match
- With 43 wickets each to their name, Mudassar Bukhari and Ahsan Malik are the most prolific Netherlands bowlers
"There was only a little bit of celebration. We have a long way to go. Obviously it was a big win, we wanted to celebrated, but we had to curtail because we have two big matches coming up.."
Oman's coach Duleep Mendis
"We have some real characters in the team. It's going to be tricky to qualify but I believe in the team and the character in the team."
Peter Borren, Netherlands captain
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo