Colombo, February 9, 2011
By Mel Gunasekera
The Netherlands are hoping luck, obscurity and good preparation will help them spring a surprise on bigger teams as they start their fourth World Cup this month.
"We come in a little bit under the radar and most big teams don't know too much about us. I think it can do us a favour, can cause an upset in our favour," skipper Peter Borren, 27, told reporters in Colombo.
Under the New-Zealand born Borren, the Dutch have won five of their last 12 one-day internationals, including one against Bangladesh last July. They also stunned hosts England in the 2009 World Twenty20.
"It's going to be a serious challenge for us to beat the Test-playing nations," said Borren. "But we have a fairly strong batting line-up that can hopefully help us win a game or two and get us past the first round."
The Dutch, who have trained in Dubai and India for the past few weeks, face India, Bangladesh, South Africa, England, the West Indies and Ireland in Group B.
Four teams from the preliminary group will advance to the quarter-finals. The Netherlands, who competed in the World Cups of 1996, 2003 and 2007, have not beaten a Test-playing side in the tournament, but boast wins over Namibia and Scotland.
One of the mainstays of the batting will be big-hitting Essex all-rounder Ryan Ten Doeschate, 30, who was snapped up by Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders for 150,000 dollars.
In 27 ODIs, Doeschate has scored 1,234 runs at a formidable average of 68.55 with three hundreds and eight half-centuries. He has also taken 48 wickets.
"We need lots of luck," said Doeschate. "We have lost some seniors since the last tournament. The challenge for us this time is to focus and try and win every game."
Borren said the team will also bank on Tom Cooper, a South Australian cricketer who qualified to play for the Netherlands through his mother, who is Dutch.
Cooper made his Netherlands debut in June last year and scored three half-centuries in his first three games. In 10 matches, he averages 65.44 with one century and five 50s.
"We won one match each at the last two World Cups and we definitely want to improve that record," said Cooper.
Borren said the lack of matches against the Test nations was slowing his team's progress. "We need more opportunities to play," he said. "It's not easy coming into tournaments like this to face the big teams. We can't change things, but the top sides should also play more often with us."
The Dutch will play two warm-up games against Kenya and Sri Lanka, before taking on England in their first World Cup match in Nagpur, India on February 22.