Netherlands summon Dutch courage

Edwards said his side was privileged to have played in the Zimbabwean conditions recently and they will be focusing on themselves in this important match.

Netherlands national cricket team skipper Scott Edwards says his side will not be intimidated by playing in front of large crowds expected at Harare Sports Club when they take on the hosts Zimbabwe today.

Zimbabwe were watched by probably the biggest crowd seen at the Harare Sports Club in their opening match of the International Cricket Council Group A World Cup qualifying encounter against Nepal on Sunday.

Probably not as much as Sunday, but another good crowd is expected today when Zimbabwe collide with the Dutch.

Netherlands had a taste of it when they toured Zimbabwe for a white ball series recently.

Edwards said his side was privileged to have played in the Zimbabwean conditions recently and they will be focusing on themselves in this important match.

“We take a lot of confidence in playing three games in these conditions, I think we are quite lucky in that regard. We know them (Zimbabwe), we played them recently, so we know how their batters go about it, how their bowlers go about it,” Edwards said yesterday. “Last time it was a close series, we feel like we match up well against them. We are looking forward to tomorrow (today), hopefully  there will be a big crowd, all cricketers enjoy playing in front of a big crowd regardless of who they are backing. The boys are looking forward to the challenge and hopefully it brings the best out of us.”

He said they are not worrying themselves too much about what Zimbabwe can do but are focusing on their own game.

“For us it is just about playing our brand of cricket and playing our best game and I think that should be able to help us beat Zimbabwe. We are more focused on what we can do, we know they have got some good cricketers, some dangerous cricketers, but so do we and we match up against them well.”

Today’s match will be Netherlands’ first in this tournament and Edwards believes Zimbabwe have a slight advantage in terms of knowledge of the conditions since they have already played one match.

“Zimbabwe have had one game and they are probably more aware of the conditions. We saw how they went about it, they played quite a good game, but we have played here before in similar conditions before.”

Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton was happy with the way Zimbabwe went about their business on Sunday, particularly the batting department which chased down a winning target of 291 anchored on centuries by Craig Ervine 121 not out as well as Sean Williams who blazed what became Zimbabwe’s quickest century.

Houghton is hoping for a similar performance against the Netherlands.

I think our batting got it right, it was a good batting performance chasing such a big score. We made it look easy, our bowling and fielding wasn’t great at the start but we came back around 30 overs. Lots of fighting spirit, good resilience. We didn’t have a good start but we came back,” he said reflecting on Sunday’s eight wicket win.

While he expects his side to put up another good show and win today’s match, he is not taking anything for granted.

“Every team that we play in this tournament is a good side, they didn’t arrive here by accident. We will be playing our game the way we have been building up over the last few months. We have got a solid seam attack, we have got some good spinners, our fielding is good, it’s sharp and we have a good batting line up. Holland is a decent team, we won the last series 2-1 but they have made six or seven changes, so I am not sure we know all their players that well, but this tournament for me is about what we do on the field. If we do what we do well, we should win it.”

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