The Netherlands had only played four Twenty20 internationals before arriving in England but after some shaky performances, they seem to have discovered their best XI with Eric Szwarczynski likely to drop out, having lost his opening batting slot to Alexei Kervezee and one of Tom de Grooth or Peter Borren taking the final middle order slot.
The twelve who England put out against West Indies on Wednesday suggested that Graham Napier, Rob Key and Owais Shah will be the men to miss out here. Given the flat nature of the Lord’s pitch and the fact that spinners do well in this form of the game, they may be tempted to play both Adil Rashid and Graeme Swann which means that one of the seamers will miss out, possibly James Anderson, given Stuart Broad’s greater facility with the bat.
Although there have been four warm-up games at this venue over the last few days, they can’t really be taken at face value, given that these matches have been played with varying levels of intensity.
Of more relevance might be the two Twenty20 Cup games played here this season, in which Surrey racked up 186 and Kent managed 191, both teams batting first. Admittedly, the Middlesex bowling was pretty toothless, but nonetheless, with previous Twenty20 Cup scores here exceeding 200 on occasions, we can safely assume this is a good batting track. There doesn’t appear to be too much disadvantage batting second here, even in day-night games, other than the pressure that comes with having to chase what is usually a big score.
No prizes for spotting that this should be England’s first win of the tournament although pessimists might also suggest that it could be their last, given that they next play Pakistan, followed potentially by India and Australia. But knowing that they are expected to triumph may put extra pressure on the home side and whereas the Netherlands will have nothing to lose in their two Group B games, England will be desperate not to slip up against the men in orange. We can expect a nervy encounter and though England are deservedly favourites, as short as 1.05 to win the opening game, it may be a bit of a scramble.
The Netherlands strength is in their bowling. Obtaining the services of Dirk Nannes was a major bonus and they can also call upon the reliable seam bowling of county cricket stalwart and new betting.betfair.com columnist Ryan ten Doeschate. What has also been pleasing for the Dutch is the performance of young left armer Pieter Seelar in the warm-up games and he looks a player to keep an eye on. That said, they have little batting to speak of, other than the aforementioned ten Doeschate and veteran Bastien Zuiderent.
Both teams come into the game in some form. The Netherlands clinically disposed of Scotland whilst England thrashed the West Indies, though it has to be said that the men from the Caribbean gave a performance that was strange even by their recent standards, notable for Chris Gayle neither captaining nor batting. England have enough ability to win this and should do so, but if you fancy an upset, the Dutch can be backed at 15.0
For England, Ravi Bopara and Kevin Pietersen are the men in form, with both likely to be around the 4.0 mark and it is hard to see past either of them, as they are the two most explosive batsmen in the team and will have plenty of overs to show what they can do. For the Netherlands, ten Doeschate is likely to be the favoured choice of many at 4.3 but it might be better to side with the experience of Zuiderent, who should be available at 6.5 or higher, to cope with the big occasion.
Twenty20 games at Lord’s tend to produce plenty of boundaries. The total four count is usually in the high twenties and you should be able to back 26-34 in the Total Fours market with confidence at 2.5 or higher.
Andrew Hughes says: Back Bastien Zuiderent to top score for the Netherlands @ 6.5 or higher
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BIOGRAPHY: Mohamed Salah