Netherlands drew the wrong group in this World Cup. They must feel rotten every time they watch Canada and Kenya go through the motions in the other group. However, Group B has been richer for their presence, and they have contributed in their own way in making the group interesting, not least by scoring 292 against England and having India at 99 for 4. Now that they cannot make it to the quarter-finals, Netherlands draw motivation from knowing that they can make the group even more interesting by ruining on a party or two.
"I am not too sure how it will suit Ireland, as in them trying to qualify, but Bangladesh are right in the mix to qualify," Peter Borren, their captain, said. "Ireland also there or thereabouts. It definitely will be our intention to ruin that party for them, and I guess it's nice at this time with our games against Bangladesh and Ireland. It's good that they still have a bearing on the tournament, on the qualification for the next round. It is a very strong group, and we have seen it's not been easy to predict results. It's just great that we can go in there, and the matches that we play still count."
If Netherlands manage to cause an upset in their next game, against Bangladesh, they will have done them a major disservice, for then Bangladesh will have to win against South Africa to have any shot at making it to the next round. They can draw inspiration from their only international meeting with Bangladesh, a six-wicket win in Glasgow, but they know the Glasgow result matters as much to Chittagong as Scotland does to this World Cup.
"There is no doubt we get some positives out of the win we had against Bangladesh last year," Borren said. "We have played them once, and we have had that win. It was in completely different conditions, foreign conditions for Bangladesh, and the end of a long tour for them. We take positives out of it, but we are very realistic about the challenge we are going to confront tomorrow, and in these conditions Bangladesh are obviously a very difficult team to beat."
Netherland's big challenge will be no prior knowledge of the conditions that have managed to surprise the best of the teams. Moreover they have hardly played Bangladesh at top levels. "Our knowledge of our opponents and the conditions are pretty limited," Borren said. "We have watched them play quite a bit, and we saw them play here in Bangladesh, against England the other night, so we are pretty aware of what we are going to come up against. And conditions as well, something we have practised quite a lot playing against spin on slow wickets, coming into this tournament. I guess the match tomorrow, the conditions that we are going to get, are the epitome of what we have been training for."
Netherlands will try to prey on the fact that Bangladesh have a lot more to lose, and that they can be an inconsistent side. "Tomorrow, us coming here and beating Bangladesh at home would be an upset I guess," Borren said. "As we have seen, Bangladesh can be an unpredictable team, a team which has its problem with consistence. After a really good win they had the other day, I know we still have a good chance of beating them tomorrow. That's what we'll be looking to do."
Netherlands might not have much to lose in terms of progression to the next rounds, but they have their goals to attain. Having played the tough teams until now, they are looking to turn a corner in terms of results. "Coming into this tournament we wanted to create chances to win games, and we wanted to try and take those chances," Borren said. "So far we've had a pretty difficult draw, we've come up against four top teams probably, on paper. Obviously tomorrow and Ireland are not going to be easy games.
"But you know we have played against four top teams, we have played two good games against England and I think we competed well with India the other day. Two disappointing performances against South Africa and West Indies in between. To be honest, we have played those four really really tough games, we now look to win these two last games. If we can leave having played four tough games, playing well in them, and then winning these two last games, I think we will be very happy with that."