Netherlands v Sri Lanka, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 23, 2014

Electric upstarts take aim at giants


Match facts

Monday, March 24, 2014
Start time 1930 local (1330 GMT)

Big Picture

If the adage "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" has any merit, Netherlands will know no.1-ranked Sri Lanka is the Mohammad Irfan of their group. Having wangled an electric surprise to barge into the Super 10s, Netherlands now take aim at the shins of giants. If they can strike a forceful enough blow over the next nine days, they might create the sort of upset that energises the tournament by placing relevance on every result. The first phase of the tournament had spawned considerable buzz around the less fancied teams in world cricket, and as the sole Associate representative in the main draw, Netherlands will not want to squander public goodwill with meek showings.

What makes this particular match a less likely candidate for an upset than others in the group, however, is not only Sri Lanka's T20 aptitude, but their general skill at putting weaker teams away. Over the years, they have revelled in crushing Associates. Much of this is to do with the unorthodoxy of their attack. South Africa had found Lasith Malinga perplexing enough, but they had faced him in a limited-overs series in Sri Lanka eight months ago. Most Netherlands batsmen will never have faced the likes of Malinga or Ajantha Mendis - if he plays - in their lives.

Sri Lanka's batsmen will not allow their standards to subside either. After his tour of Bangladesh, Kumar Sangakkara could pen the manual on bashing weaker attacks, and Mahela Jayawardene has not historically allowed inexperienced bowlers considerable leeway either. The Netherlands bowlers will also have to formulate a strategy to counter Kusal Perera's unique approach.

If Sri Lanka have the parts of their T20 machine humming, Netherlands will likely await their first victory over a Test side in this tournament, but if the breakneck chase against Ireland proved anything, Netherlands will not baulk at attempting the improbable.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Netherlands: WLWWW
Sri Lanka: WWWWW

In the spotlight

Netherlands' batting had mostly been about Tom Cooper and Stephan Myburgh in the group stage, but against Ireland, wicketkeeper-batsman Wesley Barresi had played a crucial hand, walloping 40 not out from 22 to send his team into raptures. Formerly a first-class cricketer in South Africa, Barresi has lately only played competitive cricket for Netherlands, and if his team are to challenge some of the bigger sides, less well-known players like Barresi must make impactful contributions.

Tillakaratne Dilshan arrived in Bangladesh with a cloud over his fitness, but after three mediocre innings - including in the two warm-ups - it is his form that is the bigger concern. On Saturday, Dilshan fell in familiar fashion: swiping across the line to let a straight ball through his defences. He might see the next match as an opportunity to rebound, against a friendlier attack, but Lahiru Thirimanne awaits a game in the dugout.

Pitch and conditions

The Chittagong pitch has often been slow and low, but on Saturday, the surface was not given to turn, rewarding the seamers instead. On the eve of the match the track appeared to have a tinge of green, but that may be shaved off on match-day, and in any case, the New Zealand v South Africa match will have preceded it.

Teams news

Seam bowler Logan van Beek is yet to contribute meaningfully with the ball to Netherlands' campaign, and he may be under pressure from right-armer Tom Heggelman. Elsewhere, they may not want to change the XI that brought that famous Sylhet win.

Netherlands (probable) 1 Michael Swart, 2 Stephan Myburgh, 3 Wesley Barresi (wk), 4 Peter Borren (capt), 5 Tom Cooper, 6 Ben Cooper, 7 Mudassar Bukhari, 8 Logan van Beek, 9 Timm van der Gugten, 10 Pieter Seelaar, 11 Ahsan Malik

News from the Sri Lanka camp is that Kusal Perera suffered a minor concussion after being hit in the head by a Dale Steyn delivery in the last match, but captain Chandimal has since said he is expected to play on Monday. They may consider bringing in Rangana Herath in for Ajantha Mendis, after Mendis had a poor outing against South Africa

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kusal Perera, 3 Mahela Jayawardene, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5. Dinesh Chandimal (capt), 6. Angelo Mathews, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Ajantha Mendis/Rangana Herath

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have now won 13 matches on the trot, across all formats
  • Tom Cooper is the tournament's highest scorer with 151 from three innings


"It has sunk in. It was a euphoric evening. We were on a good adrenalin high but now we have a job to do."
Netherlands captain Peter Borren is not satisfied with merely making the Super 10s

"In this format of the game, any team can do well on their day and create major upsets. I watched that match between Ireland and Netherlands. Netherlands played some really good cricket in that game."

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    @mohammed-ismai: hope your enjoying the tight contest!!! hahaha

  • Adrian on March 24, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    Fighting Guys in this blog.....please relax & sit to watch the match, enjoy yourself, applaud the deserves & do not get heat pains.

  • Valangai on March 24, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    I would love to see the Netherland crush SL. I guess that's what pretty much is gonna happen.

  • Mark on March 24, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    I love the brand of cricket Sri Lanka plays I hope they win this tournament and win against all opposition.

  • Masoom on March 24, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Srilanka V/S Nether-land battle of minnows, sorry friends whosoever said this is either afraid of Srilankan cricket team or a biased individual.Srilanka 1996 world champions,two time world cup finalists,current Asian Champions,boasts of legends like Murli,Sanath Jayasurya and Aravinda to name a few.If this is the definition of minnows probably i have been watching some other sport.

  • Muttee on March 24, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    Muhammad Ismail: I really beg to differ, I am Pakistani as well but calling SL below any other team in Asia, especially right now would be the most stupid thing. They are on top of their game and currently are favourites to lift this cup so you really need to stop giving such biased comments and give others a chance to point at you. and Mr Facebook user just above Ismail, your comment only tells about yourself and it is not a reflection of anyone else. Comment only if you have something reasonable to say otherwise please refrain. this is a place to discuss cricket so keep it like that. Thanks

  • Yohan on March 24, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    well we are ready to this one as well. SL with utmost comfort after defeating SA but not relaxed as have a long journey ahead . Netherland with best possible moral state after that win . So the game is on . I want SL management to give strict advice to Dilshan to come form . Thisara in bowling . they are crucial parts of system and SL need them to come good before next games . judging the pitch from first game (NZ vs SA) it s a good one for batting . good luck SL .

  • Mohammed on March 24, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    Today is the battle of minnows, and guess what Netherland is going to WIN. Insha Allah, give the over rated SL a BIG Defeat. Pak is the best team in Asia, followed by India, Bangladesh & SL in that order

  • Android on March 24, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    Netherland looks dangerous after last encounter.. Hope they will fight today against Asian Lions.

  • Android on March 24, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    Mendis should play... he is a match winner and in the Asia cup he was in great form..... Then I cant understand why people want to Tisara not playing... He has done well every time he has given a chance and we need his big hitting in the later part of the innings... If some one has to go out its Chandimal and since he is the captain that is not going to happen.... Seekuge in for Chandimal will be great....

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