Lucknow: The Netherlands will aim to build momentum after their World Cup win over Bangladesh last time out and are banking on their knowledge of the conditions in Lucknow to help when they face Afghanistan, Dutch all-rounder Colin Ackermann said on Thursday.
The Dutch climbed off the bottom of the table into eighth spot with an 87-run victory over Bangladesh on Saturday and are familiar with the BRSABVE Stadium heading into Friday’s clash at the venue having lost narrowly to Sri Lanka there.
“Obviously we’ve got some momentum from our previous game against Bangladesh,” Ackermann told reporters. “I think we’re pretty lucky that we’ve played here before at this venue.
“I don’t think Afghanistan have played here before. So we’re familiar to the conditions from our game (with) Sri Lanka. Hopefully that will give us a few positives leading into tomorrow.” The Netherlands’ hopes of reaching the semi-finals remain slim despite winning two games at the same World Cup for the first time and Ackermann said they were yet to play the perfect match with their batting unit not firing consistently.
“We know our middle order and lower order are very capable of scoring runs towards the back end,” Ackermann said.
“I think if we can set the game up as a top-order — the top three-four batters ... It takes two guys to form a good partnership and we’ll set up a very good score.” Ackermann, who bowls offspin, said the Netherlands would be cautious against sixth-placed Afghanistan’s spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi.
“They’ve got three good spinners that have been successful in Twenty20 cricket,” Ackermann added. “The 50-overs format is different. You don’t have to go after them from ball one.
“It gives us an opportunity to have a look at them to see how the conditions are playing out there. The teams that have done well against them have taken the game deep and not given them wickets in the middle overs.
“They’ve also got two or three very good seamers that are dangerous. So it’s about getting through the powerplay first and then combating spin in the middle overs.” Afghanistan face Australia and South Africa after playing the Netherlands and a couple of upset wins in their last three games would boost their slender hopes of making the semis.
However, head coach Jonathan Trott would not dwell on that possibility despite masterminding stunning wins over defending champions England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“We’re not going to make the semi-finals by just talking about it,” the former England batsman said. “We have to play good cricket. As long as we play good cricket, we’ll give ourselves the best chance of being able to do that.
“That starts tomorrow and how well we start tomorrow is going to be crucial and how well we finish.”