Netherlands and Scotland aim high in World Cup Qualifier
THE NETHERLANDS (total ODI caps – 180): Peter Borren (captain), Wesley Barresi, Ben Cooper, Scott Edwards, Vivian Kingma, Frederick Klaassen, Bas de Leede, Maxwell O'Dowd, Pieter Seelaar, Shane Snater, Ryan ten Doeschate, Timm van der Gugten, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren and Sikander Zulfiqar. Ryan Campbell (coach)
SCOTLAND (total ODI caps – 333): Kyle Coetzer (captain), Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Ali Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Tom Sole, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal and Stuart Whittingham. Grant Bradburn (coach)
The Netherlands and Scotland will be aiming to carry their form from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and upset some apple-carts in Zimbabwe as they aim to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The teams qualified by finishing in the top two at the World Cricket League Championship, which is played on a double-league format among eight teams, the Netherlands topping the table with 22 points and Scotland finishing at 19 points.
Both sides have been preparing in Pretoria, South Africa, as they adjust to the warmer conditions from the winter back home. They are full of enthusiasm as they approach their different sets of challenges - the Netherlands having to contend with Ireland, PNG, the United Arab Emirates and the Windies in Group A and Scotland having to deal with Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Nepal and Zimbabwe in Group B.
The Netherlands coach Ryan Campbell says his team is approaching the tournament with confidence and that the players are not bothered about the bigger tags of some of the other teams.
“The boys worked really hard to secure the top spot in that tournament (World Cricket League Championship). We are now here to go further than that, we need to be a top-10 team, we want to prove that and the process starts in Zimbabwe.
“Everyone is going to say that their first aim is to reach the Super Six. But we are aiming for one of the two top spots, our aim is to be in the World Cup and we won’t be satisfied with anything less,” said the Aussie coach, who felt his seam attack and good batting line-up could help win matches in the 10-team tournament.
“With four full members in the tournament, it is a tough ask but a fantastic opportunity. Everyone would be naming the Windies, Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe and not giving any chance to others, so we only have everything to gain,” he added.
Captain Peter Borren echoed his coach’s views and felt the practice matches would be enough to prepare them for a tough opening match against Ireland on 4 March.
“We’ve got a great group which has worked hard. There is a pretty positive vibe in the group and I see no reason why we can’t do well. We’ve practiced hard and will hit the ground running. It’s pretty obvious that the first match against Ireland is going to be massive.
“We’ve played a few warm-up games and are looking confident at the moment. Every game is crucial. You have to put in consistent performances, every team is really competitive. With only two teams qualifying, it is difficult. All the teams are under pressure.”
The Scotland team members have been tuning up likewise with left-hander George Munsey extolling the benefits of their preparatory tours.
“We have put in a lot of hard work, a tour to Dubai and obviously going to Pretoria in South Africa as a warm up. We are going to put in a lot of hard work to get us ready for the event. It will be a great feeling to get across the line and come in the top two,” said the 24-year-old.
Safyaan Sharif, who played eight matches in the 2014 qualifier and took 14 wickets with his fast bowling, is excited ahead of the Zimbabwe event in which they play Afghanistan in their tournament opener.
“First of all, it is great to be in the qualifiers and I am lucky enough to be in the squad as well. We have been doing a lot of things differently in our training sessions to prepare for the World Cup Qualifier, pushing our limits and doing things we have never done before.
“I was lucky enough to be part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. It was a great experience for me and for the rest of the boys. If we were to qualify for (England and Wales 2019) it would be a good achievement for Scotland and an awesome experience,” said the 26-year-old.
CREDIT: International Cricket Council