ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
India v Netherlands, Group B, World Cup 2011, Delhi
ten Doeschate looking forward to Sehwag challenge
Nagraj Gollapudi in Delhi
March 8, 2011
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Matches: India v Netherlands at Delhi
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Forget the big picture for a moment and focus instead on this riveting question that fans will be looking forward to being answered on Wednesday: can Virender Sehwag last long enough against Netherlands in his home city to crank up a double century? In the first match of the World Cup, in Dhaka, he nearly became the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to reach the milestone, before succumbing on 175. Still, he had lasted for 47.3 overs and if not for cramps, could have batted through the innings. But will Sehwag use his (home) advantage against a featherweight like Netherlands and go for the double? One Dutchman wants it to make it difficult for him, even if Netherlands lack an incisive bowling attack.
"For the opening batter to face us, it is quite tricky because there is no pace on the ball, which is very different to what they are quite used to," Ryan ten Doeschate, Netherlands' best player, told ESPNcricinfo. ten Doeschate was not being cocky, he was simply basing his thoughts on the experience of bowling to Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, a devastating pair of batsmen who both possess similar ability to Sehwag to rip apart a bowling attack. Gayle faced the Dutch at the Feroz Shah Kotla, but could only manage a sedate 80 off 100 balls even though he lasted till the 36th over. Then de Villiers blasted South Africa out of misery from 58 for 2 in the 16th over, but even he could only rake up 134 in his 30-over stay.
According to ten Doeschate, even if the Dutch lack real quick bowlers, their trundlers have actually posed more problems for opposition line-ups with their lack of pace. "We have actually conceded two centuries in the last three games so that is not actually that bad," he said (both those hundreds were scored in the South Africa match by Hashim Amla and de Villiers). "So we are a difficult team to score hundreds against. Yes, there has been a few times when there was a real possibility like Chris Gayle or AB [de Villiers] going for the 200. But we are little better than conceding a double hundred to anyone in 50-over cricket."
He was not entirely ruling out Sehwag achieving the landmark feat if the Indian decided to bat out the innings. Sehwag has shown in the recent past that he can bide his time in the first ten overs before opening up. "That can only be bad news for me as I am the one-change bowler," ten Doeschate said with a big laugh. Still, he was confident. "Our starts have been pretty decent barring the England game where the guys have smashed us. We have conceded runs, but not big." The numbers don't quite confirm that, however. The West Indies racked up 95 for no loss in the first 15 overs (England were 90 for no loss), but Netherlands did manage to restrict South Africa to 58 for 1.
In the absence of an experienced fast man, the Dutch have found it difficult to get breakthroughs early, which has allowed their opponents to steadily establish a platform and then accelerate over the last 15 overs. West Indies raised 140 in their final 15 overs while South Africa plundered 166. "We have not taken wickets upfront. That is what really is hurting us," ten Doeschate said.
So what are the mistakes he would not like the team to repeat against India? "In the first game we got a lot of things right. Sometimes it is very easy look at the result and judge your performance by the result. But we have not done too much wrong. Unfortunately that is the way we bowl, we don't have express pace, we don't have guys who turn the ball miles. We have conceded 330 twice in a row, but there is nothing much we can do.
"On the batting side we have been done by pace twice. Again that is not something we can learn overnight how to play guys who play at 150kph. So I don't think we can put a finger and say this is what we need to get better that."
Like many Associates, the Dutch also do not want to go back empty handed. And they do not want to waste the opportunity of playing the bigger countries. Hence, they are not afraid to be part of the Group of Death. "This is definitely the tougher group," ten Doeschate said. "Our intention was to sneak a result out of one of the big teams and then beat Bangladesh and Ireland. From the experience point of view to play South Africa, India, England and West Indies is an awesome teams to play against."
Tomorrow, the Dutch will have the unique experience of playing the second-best one-day team in the world in front of a full house. The biggest match the Dutch have played in front of a virtually packed stadium came on June 5, 2009, when they shocked England in the World Twenty20 at Lord's. But playing India in India in front of a raucous crowd is like being on a different planet. Little wonder ten Doeschate was eagerly looking forward to getting on the field.
"We are under a bit of pressure not to make fools of ourselves, but that is obviously a different pressure to perform consistently and make sure you progress. I genuinely believe it is more about something to look forward to than to fear. As a cricketing experience it can't any bigger than that. It is a tremendous privilege."
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