The Netherlands campaign in the 2023 Men's World Cup got underway today with a defeat against Pakistan, though they were competitive and on top for parts of the game.
Dutch captain Scott Edwards won the toss and chose to bowl first, his team making breakthroughs early on with Logan van Beek, Paul van Meekeren and Colin Ackermann removing Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam respectively within the first ten overs, putting Pakistan firmly on the back foot on 38-3.
But a 120 run partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel swung the game back the way of the full member side, the partnership ending when the latter was dismissed by Aryan Dutt in the 29th over having scored 68. Bas de Leede removed Rizwan - also for 68 - and Iftikhar Ahmed in quick succession in the 32nd over and Pakistan were 188-6.
The Dutch couldn't capitalise on that good position though, with a 64 run partnership for the seventh wicket between Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan getting Pakistan back in the game. De Leede removed Khan - for 32 - and Hasan Ali in successive deliveries in the 44th over before Shaheen Shah Afridi kept out the hat-trick ball.
Nawaz reached 39 before he was run out and the final total for Pakistan was 286. De Leede was the pick of the bowlers with 4-62.
The Dutch lost Max O'Dowd cheaply early in their reply, with Colin Ackermann the second wicket to fall having scored 10, with the Dutch on 50 in the 12th over. Vikramjit Singh and Bas de Leede put on 70 for the third wicket before the former was out for 52.
De Leede held on as wickets fell at the other end and he reached 67 before he was bowled by Mohammad Nawaz in the 34th over. He was the 7th wicket to fall and whilst there was some late innings hitting by Logan van Beek, scoring 28 at a run a ball, it came too late and the Netherlands were bowled out for 205, losing by 81 runs.
The Dutch side were more competitive than the margin suggests and they will certainly take some positives from this game. Their next match will come on Monday when they take on New Zealand.