ICC Trophy Final: They share World Cup berths, mutual respect and abilities, Nambia and Netherlands won't concede the Final
In a match where the two teams adopt a similar approach and play to more or less the same strengths, it is hardly a surprise that the captains of the combatants in today's final of the ICC Trophy at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, between Netherlands and Nambia, should almost speak as one on the factors affecting the outcome of the game.
Both agree the desire to lift the ICC Trophy has not been eroded by celebrations surrounding their qualification for the 2003 World Cup and concur that.Nambia's Superleague win last Tuesday at G.Ross Lord Ground was decided more by the conditions than the respective talents of the team.
"We want to go through this tournament unbeaten," Namibia skipper, Danie Keulder, said last night (Toronto time).
"I've played in two losing ICC Trophy finals and this will be last one of it's kind, so both myself and the team are really keen to win," the Netherlands' veteran captain, Roland Lefebvre said.
Keulder and Lefebvre also agreed that today's final would be very much a clean start despite Namibia's shock 73 run win last Tuesday.
"The pitch we will play on will be very true - there was variable bounce and the pitch played it's part last Tuesday - it wasn't a true reflection and they (Netherlands) will be a lot better," Keulder offered.
"I misread the pitch last Tuesday and put them in and didn't see that their total was going to be hard to overhaul. The pitch we are playing the final on is very good," Lefebvre said.
There is mutual respect between the teams, enhanced when they came together for quite a few hours last week to celebrate their respective World Cup qualifications at the tournament hotel's main bar. They chatted freely about the World Cup and the match today.
They both produce tight line and length bowling backed up by sharp fielding, with discipline the key factor in their application of those elements.
Keulder nominated young seamer Burton van Rooi as the key to the attack. "He is unbelievable under pressure."
Keulder said his team had worked its way through to the final thanks to the benefits of playing in the South African UCB Bowl Division 2 competition for the last four seasons..
"To play in a competition like that you need to be able to play pressure cricket."
Lefebvre said the Dutch opening attack of himself and Asim Khan had been one of the team's main pluses.
"We have been taking wickets early which has placed the opposition under pressure."
So what will decide the final?
"Both sides are very disciplined and work well together as teams. Neither side has outstanding individual players, so it will be the team that gels on the day," Lefebvre said.