India can try out their options against the Netherlands (Preview)

March 8th, 2011 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) After a testing time against Ireland, India will hope to have it easy against the Netherlands in their World Cup Group B match here Wednesday.

The co-hosts moved to the top of the group after their five-wicket win over Ireland Sunday and now look almost certain to qualify for the quarterfinals.

India have five points from three matches, same as England, followed by South Africa and the West Indies, who have four points.

After winning their opening game against Bangladesh and settling for a thrilling tie against England, India’s performance against Ireland was scratchy.

India will look to make amends here with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni making it clear after the match that there is no way they will be taking the Dutch lightly.

“I never say there’s any weaker side at the World Cup,” Dhoni said. “If you have memories of getting beaten by Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup then you won’t commit that mistake.

“So the preparation remains the same and the intensity should remain the same as if you’re playing any other side.”

The Netherlands, who are at the bottom of the group with three defeats, will be looking to prove that their scintillating performance against England was no fluke. The Orange shirts created a flutter by pushing England to the brink of an upset in Nagpur, but thereafter slumped to massive defeats against the West Indies (215 runs) in Delhi and South Africa (231 runs) in Mohali.

The Indians who are coming after playing on a batsman-friendly track in Bangalore are unlikely to enjoy the same comfort at Kotla, where the newly laid pitch has the potential to spring a surprise.

However, almost all mainline batsmen looked good, firing at crucial stages. The form of Yuvraj Singh, who was the man of the match against Ireland for scoring a half century and a maiden five-wicket haul, has opened more options for the team and it won’t be a surprise if one gets to see a bit of a shuffle in the batting order.

India’s bowling, though, has been ordinary with batsmen giving them the cushion of extra runs. The Indians can experiment with their bowling by playing three seamers by bringing in Ashish Nehra, who has recovered from his sore back, and badly needs a game before the business end of the World Cup.

As for the spin, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla has not made use of the two opportunities he got while Harbhajan Singh has been mostly doing the containing job. One of the options Dhoni can think of is to give off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin a game.

The fielding, too, has been an area of concern with Dhoni repeatedly coming down heavy on his slow fielders.

Fielding though should not be a worry for the Dutch who have been throwing themselves on the park. Their batting and bowling, however, need to show more promise.

The Netherlands batting mainly centres around their only century-makers in this World Cup Ryan ten Doeschate and Tom Cooper. Their bowling, too, has looked below par.

Skipper Peter Borren admitted that Wednesday’s game will be challenging.

“India are a tough side as their batting line-up has some unbelievable cricketers,” said Borren.

“It’s going to be a real challenge for us to play against India. Hopefully, we can do a little better than we did against South Africa.”

Teams (from):
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicket-keeper), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, S. Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla, R. Ashwin, Ashish Nehra.

The Netherlands: Peter Borren (captain), Wesley Baressi (wicketkeeper), Mudassar Bukhari, Atse Buurman, Tom Cooper, Tom de Grooth, Alexei Kervezee, Bradley Kruger, Bernard Loots, Adeel Raja, Pieter Seelaar, Eric Swarczynski, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Berend Westdijk, Bas Zuiderent.

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