Geelong: Ahead of the Netherlands’ Group A match against Namibia in the first round of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, opening batter Max O’Dowd said his team are aware of the strengths the Gerhard Erasmus-led side have as well as of their own team too.
Namibia started the tournament with a bang, notching a spectacular 55-run win over 2014 champions Sri Lanka. Hours later, the Netherlands’ joined them as the second winning team in the opening day of the competition, edging past the UAE by three wickets with a ball to spare.
“Just to do what we do. I think, obviously, we played Namibia before, and we know the strengths they have, and we’ve got our strengths. For us it’s to go out there and play our game. I think that’s the most important part. Not worry too much about the outside noise and just focus on what we can do,” said O’Dowd in the pre-match press conference.
In the match against the UAE, O’Dowd hit a six and three fours in his 18-ball 23, before he was completely foxed by a ball which kept low and crashed into the middle-stump to give pacer Junaid Siddique his first wicket of the match and would eventually take 3/24 to get UAE back in the match.
It took a late 27-run stand between captain Scott Edwards, who hit the winning run, and Tim Pringle to get Netherlands over the line in a low-scoring thriller at Kardinia Park. O’Dowd admitted that the chase which seemed like a walk in the park for them became a tight one and that discussions were held among the batters about Sunday’s approach with the bat.
“It was a tight one. It was a bit of a relief. I think after the start we had, I guess we thought it might be over a little bit quicker. To the fair to the UAE, they bowled extremely well in those positions, and they put us under a lot of pressure.”
“Just thankful in the end to get over the line. I think we had a good discussion this morning with the batters about plans going forward and how we’re going to combat the Namibian attack. Like I said before, I think we just go into tomorrow’s game with the right intent and go out there and play our game.”
Namibia defeating Sri Lanka means that Group A equations are wide open now on who will be the two teams progressing to the Super 12 stage, which O’Dowd finds exciting. “It’s opened up a bit now, I think. It’s probably not what everyone expected, which is exciting. I know personally Namibia’s strength and what they can do.”
“It may seem like a surprise to many people in the cricketing world, but for us fellow Associates, I guess it’s not that unfamiliar. It’s exciting, and it’s going to be tough. We knew it was going to be tough coming into this group, so we’re really looking forward to the next two games.”