India will play their ninth and final league match of the ODI World Cup 2023 against the Netherlands. With eight wins in eight matches, the Rohit Sharma-led team has qualified for the semi-finals and will most likely face New Zealand on November 15.
In their previous match, birthday boy Virat Kohli hit a record-equalling 49th ODI century while Ravindra Jadeja took a five-wicket haul as India crushed South Africa by 243 runs to record their eighth World Cup win in Kolkata on Sunday.
India’s optional nets session on Friday was an encore as Virat Kohli meticulously went about polishing his skills against short-pitched bowling and left-arm spin that he will need to negate potentially against New Zealand in the World Cup semifinals.
It was an optional session but all the Indian players except Ishan Kishan attended the nets. In a novelty, pacer Jasprit Bumrah tried his hand in a bit of spin while head coach Rahul Dravid doubled up as a side-arm thrower.
The team management will be tempted to include pacer Prasidh Krishna in the playing XI against the Dutch to give rest to either of Bumrah, Siraj or Shami. The Indian team has stuck with the same playing XI since Hardik Pandya was injured against Bangladesh. However, they will be playing after a week’s rest so they might stick with the same playing XI.
The Netherlands believe they can pull off an upset win against an in-form India with all-rounder Teja Nidamanuru saying ‘it’s a game of cricket and funnier things have happened’.
Hosts India are the only unbeaten side in the tournament while the Netherlands, the only Associate team in the tournament, are languishing at the bottom of the points table after their 160-run loss to England on Wednesday.
“It’s a game of cricket right. So, it could be possible (defeating India). We play our brand of cricket. We do what we do well. We’ve got some great manoeuvres of the ball. We’ve got guys who can play spin well,” Nidamanuru said at the post match press conference on Wednesday.
“We’ve also got guys who can take wickets. It really just obviously you need a bit of luck. There’s no doubt that they’re a very strong team and they’ve been playing very good cricket. But funnier things have happened in the game,” he added.
The Netherlands had stunned a high-flying South Africa before registering a win against Bangladesh. However, the Orange Army have endured back-to-back losses and are out of the semifinal race.