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7th Match, Group D, Dallas, June 04, 2024, ICC Men's T20 World Cup
(18.4/20 ov, T:107) 109/4

Netherlands won by 6 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
Cricinfo's MVP
58.32 ptsImpact List

Pringle and Co stifle Nepal as Netherlands open their account

Max O'Dowd showed the patience required to get the job done in the chase, even as Nepal's bowlers applied significant pressure of their own

Ashish Pant
Netherlands 109 for 4 (O'Dowd 54*, Vikramjit 22, Airee 1-6) beat Nepal 106 (Paudel 35, Pringle 3-20, Van Beek 3-18, Van Meekeren 2-19) by six wickets
Tim Pringle and Logan van Beek's three-wicket hauls backed up by Max O'Dowd's patient half-century got Netherlands over the line in a nervy chase in their opening game of the T20 World Cup 2024, against a spirited Nepal in Dallas.
It was a rude welcome for Nepal in their first T20 World Cup in a decade, with the Netherlands bowlers putting up a fine show and bowling them out for a mere 106 in 19.2 overs. But Nepal weren't done yet. They squeezed the Netherlands batters in the middle overs and took the chase into the 19th over. O'Dowd, however, held his own with an unbeaten 54. He rode his luck and made sure to take his side over the line by six wickets and eight balls to spare.
Early-morning rain and overcast conditions delayed the toss by 30 minutes and Netherlands captain Scott Edwards had no hesitations in bowling after winning the toss. The bowlers backed up their captain's decision with Pringle, van Beek, Paul van Meekeren and Bas de Leede all getting among the wickets.
In reply, Nepal put up a fight but dropped a couple of crucial chances at key intervals.

Dallas turns blue and red, but Orange holds sway

The Grand Prairie Stadium can seat 7000 but the vocal Nepal fans made it feel a lot bigger, flocking in nice and early getting behind their team. But the overcast conditions assisted the Netherlands seamers and they got their first wicket through left-arm spinner Pringle, whose decision to keep giving the ball flight paid off as Aasif Sheikh's thick outside edge found short third in the second over. Pacer van Beek then struck with his first ball, angling a length ball sharply back into Kushal Bhurtel and catching him plumb in front.
Fast bowler Vivian Kingma also found big movement as the Nepal batters found putting bat to ball an arduous task. In the first six overs, Nepal played and missed 17 of the 36 balls (47.22%), which is the highest for any team in a men's T20I (for which ESPNcricinfo has ball-by-ball data available). They hit five fours but could only manage three singles and a two in the first six overs, as Nepal managed only 29 runs in the powerplay for the loss of two wickets.

A stranglehold in the middle and at the death

Rohit Paudel, the youngest captain at a T20 World Cup at 21, kept his composure but lost partners at a steady rate. He pumped Kingma for a four over covers in the seventh over, but Pringle came back in his second over to remove Anil Sah, his attempted sweep only going as far as deep backward square leg. Kushal Malla hammered van Meekeren for a four over mid-off but fell three balls later trying a repeat of that shot, deceived by the slower offcutter and spooning the ball straight up.
Bas de Leede then got rid of Dipendra Singh Airee caught at slip as Nepal slipped to 53 for 5 after 11 overs. Paudel was busy during his 35 off 37 but ultimately perished giving Pringle his third wicket. Karan KC and Gulsan Jha added 22 off 17 balls for the eighth wicket - the second-highest stand of the innings - to push the score past 100. Van Beek ended the innings with a two-in-two.

Nepal apply the choke

Early wickets was the need of the hour, and Nepal managed that with Sompal Kami getting rid of Michael Levitt with his second ball, caught by the cover fielder. Both Kami and Karan kept the bowling tight conceding only four runs in the first 15 balls. Vikramjit Singh broke the shackles with two back-to-back fours but run-scoring remained slow. Nepal bowled 19 dot balls in the powerplay as Netherlands reached 36 for 1 after the first six.
It was going to get tougher for Netherlands in the middle overs, with the spinners coming into the equation. Airee conceded just a single in his first over after the powerplay, before taking out Vikramjit with a length ball that beat the batter's attempted slog sweep and caught him in front. An over earlier Vikramjit was dropped at deep backward square leg by Kami, but he couldn't cash in.
O'Dowd and Sybrand Engelbrecht tried to steady to ship in a 28-run stand before a run out brought about the latter's end. O'Dowd struck a straight drive back at Kami, who expertly deflected the ball back onto the non-striker's stumps and caught Engelbrecht short. Nepal conceded just 48 runs in the middle overs (6 to 15) making Netherlands fight for every run.

Composed O'Dowd steers Netherlands home

When Edwards fell cheaply, it felt Netherlands' chase could go astray, but O'Dowd brought all his experience into play. He curbed his natural aggressive instincts and made sure he kept his end secure even when Netherlands went 40 balls without a boundary between the 12th and 18th overs. O'Dowd had a huge slice of luck when Paudel spilled a straightforward chance in the 18th over at long-off. He was on 40 at the time and Netherlands still needed 18 off 17, but the dropped chance seemed to ease his nerves. In the penultimate over, with Netherlands requiring 13 off 12, he smashed Abinash Bohara for a four and six to reach his 13th T20I fifty. De Leede then finished the chase with a four through covers, triggering a sigh of relief in the Netherlands camp and securing two crucial points.

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

Win Probability
NED 100%
100%50%100%NEP InningsNED Innings

Over 19 • NED 109/4

Netherlands won by 6 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)
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