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July 8, 2008
Netherlands have one last chance of reaching the final of the Intercontinental Cup - a must-win game against Ireland which gets underway in Rotterdam on Wednesday.
While a win could lift them into second spot above Kenya, defeat would leave them 18 points adrift and having played two games more. For all the importance of tomorrow's match, Netherlands have been severely hampered by the absence of key players. Their gifted young batsman Alexei Kervezee has damaged a hamstring while Eric Szwarczynski continues to recover from a broken toe. Most importantly, however, they will miss the services of Ryan ten Doeschate who has chosen county over country.
Rifaiz Bakas replaces Kervezee while another batsman, Lesley Stokkers, is also drafted into the squad.
The scenario for Ireland, the defending champions, is slightly different. They have two games in hand against Netherlands - and have played one less than Kenya, who they trail by only 17 points. With Scotland, in fifth place but with two games coming up against the bottom two sides Bermuda and Canada, the table should become a lot clearer by the end of August.
Like Netherlands, Ireland are also missing a number of key players. Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Niall O'Brien (Northamptonshire) and captain William Porterfield (Gloucestershire) are all absent on county duty, while another first-choice player, former captain Trent Johnston, is ruled out through work commitments. Andrew White misses the match for personal reasons.
Ireland does have the consolation of welcoming back the increasingly influential all-rounder Kevin O'Brien, Niall's brother, after injury. James Hall comes in for White and Greg Thompson also slots into the squad while Kyle McCallan takes over as captain.
Netherlands (from): Jeroen Smits (capt, wk), Peter Borren, Mudassar Bukhari, Daan van Bunge, Tom de Grooth, Maurits Jonkman, Alexei Kervezee, Geert-Maarten Mol, Edgar Schiferli, Pieter Seelaar, Nick Statham, Bas Zuiderent.
Ireland (from): Kyle McCallan (capt), Andre Botha, Peter Connell, Alex Cusack, Thinus Fourie, James Hall, Gary Kidd, Kevin O' Brien, Andrew Poynter, Paul Stirling, Roger Strydom, Greg Thompson, Gary Wilson (wk).
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