Preview: Dutch, Afghans lock horns as their semi-final dreams continue; Pakistan to watch closely
A win for Afghanistan in the game will put the Pakistanis under pressure ahead of their last two round-robin games.
(L-R) Netherlands’ Sybrand Engelbecht and Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (ANI Photos)
NETHERLANDS all-rounder Colin Ackermann on Thursday (2) played down the threat posed by Afghanistan’s spin kings as both sides push for a World Cup semi-final place.
The Dutch have shocked mighty South Africa and Bangladesh at the tournament while losing four times.
Afghanistan have three wins after seeing off defending champions England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and three losses.
They are two points ahead of the Dutch in what is shaping up to be a tense race for the last four.
Afghanistan have the upper hand in their head-to-head, winning seven ODIs and losing only two, with the last four going their way.
Key for them will be their world class spin attack.
Rashid Khan has seven wickets while Mujeeb Ur Rahman has six, and Mohammad Nabi and Noor Ahmad three each.
“They’ve obviously got very good spinners that have been successful in T20 cricket but this is a different format,” said Ackermann.
“You don’t have to go after the spinners from ball one. I think the teams that have done well against them have kind of taken the game deep and not given them any wickets in the middle overs.”
Ackermann believes his team’s 87-run win over Bangladesh has helped create momentum heading into the decisive stage of group games.
“The plan is to win tomorrow,” said Ackermann.
“Obviously we got some momentum from our previous game and that will give us a few positives.”
Ackermann still harbour hopes of a shock semi-final place for the Netherlands.
With India and South Africa virtually certain of taking two of the four semi-final places, it means Afghanistan and the Dutch face a race to the line against five-time champions Australia and New Zealand.
“The focus is the semi-final for us,” said Ackermann whose team also face England (Pune on November 8) and India (Bengaluru on November 12).