Netherlands seek batting turnaround
Match factsMarch 17, 2014
Start time 1930 local (1330 GMT)
Big pictureThe scene outside the Sylhet Divisional Stadium was typically subcontinental. Long queues stretched outside the ticket windows, heated arguments ensued when someone tried to sneak in, and there were plenty of security personnel. The only difference was that hosts Bangladesh are not going to play in Sylhet.
Try filling a 14000-capacity stadium in India for a game not involving MS Dhoni's side. Then try doing it for a match involving two Associate teams. Good luck with that. This is what makes Bangladeshis probably the most passionate followers of the game on the subcontinent, and by extension, the world. Teams such as Netherlands and UAE could not have got a hungrier audience.
Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain, said at the press conference that no one would recognise his players on the streets of Amsterdam. They might go unnoticed in Sylhet as well, at least for now, but the crowd will nevertheless appreciate what Borren and his men have to offer.
Borren will hope the offerings do not mirror what his batsmen have dished out in the warm-up matches. Against Hong Kong, they were 84 for 3 in the 12th over chasing 128, and collapsed to 100 all out. Against Afghanistan, they were 49 for 2 in the sixth over chasing 122 in 15, and slumped to 86 all out. An exasperated Borren had said he was pi**ed off with his batsmen. There is no reason for him to have that feeling with a varied attack in which up to eight men can be counted upon to contribute.
Netherlands will need all the contributions they can come up with, for as the UAE captain Khurram Khan said, his side are more used to the slow-and-low tracks that Bangladesh usually offers. While a world event is not exactly unfamiliar territory for Netherlands, UAE will be out to enjoy what Khurram called the "biggest moment" for his players when they walk out under lights on Monday evening.
Watch out forGiven their batting woes in the warm-ups, Netherlands will be glad they will have the services of Tom Cooper, who is an injury replacement for Tim Gruijters. Cooper brings with him years of experience in the Australian domestic circuit, which could prove useful in case Netherlands threaten to implode again.
If the Sylhet pitch plays anywhere close to how Dhaka and Chittagong usually do, the veteran left-arm spinner Shadeep Silva, who began his career in Sri Lanka, should enjoy bowling on it. Another veteran is captain Khurram Khan, who at 42 is still his side's leading batsman. Who said T20 is a young man's game?
TeamsNetherlands (from): Peter Borren (capt), Wesley Barresi (wk), Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Tom Cooper, Tom Heggelman, Ahsan Malik, Vivian Kingma, Stephan Myburgh, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar, Michael Swart, Eric Szwarczynski, Logan van Beek, Timm van der Gugten
UAE (from): Khurram Khan (capt), Ahmed Raza, Amjad Ali, Amjad Javed, Faizan Asif, Manjula Guruge, Kamran Shazad, Moaaz Qazi, Swapnil Patil (wk), Rohan Mustafa, Rohit Singh, Shaiman Anwar, Sharif Asadullah, Vikrant Shetty, Shadeep Silva
Stats and trivia
Quotes"Cricket is not a very big sport in Holland. Football and hockey are huge. We come here representing a very small cricketing community. We are very proud to do that."
"If you are living in the UAE, it cannot get bigger than this definitely. Everybody is happy with that."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo