Netherlands qualify for World Cup 2023
Netherlands' players celebrate after qualifying for ICC World Cup 2023 in India. They beat Scotland in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, to secure qualification. Photo: ICC

Netherlands qualify for World Cup 2023; Bas de Leede hits ton, takes 5 wickets

An inspirational Netherlands scripted an incredible come-from-behind fairytale, riding on all-rounder Bas de Leede’s individual brilliance as they beat Scotland by four wickets to join Sri Lanka as the second qualifying team for the ICC World Cup 2023 in India, starting October 5.

Needing 278 inside 44 overs to qualify, De Leede’s power-packed 123 off 92 balls with the help of seven fours and five sixes and his 113-run sixth-wicket stand in just 11.3 overs with Saqib Zulfiqar (33 not out) helped Netherlands to qualify in just 42.5 overs in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

This is the fifth time that the Netherlands have qualified for the 50-over global event, having played in the 1996, 2003, 2007 and 2011 editions.

Also read: Sri Lanka qualify for World Cup 2023

“Little bit lost for words. I thought what Bas de Leede and Saqib Zulfiqar did in the last 10 overs was unbelievable to watch,” an emotional Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards said after the match.

“This group is just incredible. We put in the hard work and the guys just enjoy everyones success. We had a different match-winner in every game. Its a pretty awesome feeling. It was just unbelievable batting by Leede and Saqib in the end,” the skipper added.

Bas de Leede, The Netherlands, World Cup 2023 qualifier
Bas de Leede. Photo: ICC

Call it a coincidence, Bas’s father Tim de Leede was an important member of the Netherlands team during the first three of those world tournaments.

Also read: World Cup 2023: Will Pakistan travel to India? What PCB, ICC say

Even though Scotland (+0.102) and Zimbabwe (-0.099) also finished with six points, Netherlands, by virtue of this win, leapfrogged them to reach a net run-rate of +0.230.

They will play Sri Lanka in the final but that match is of hardly any consequence apart from deciding who will finish as Qualifier 1 and which team ends with Qualifier 2 classification.

Scotland, who looked favourites to earn the second spot behind Sri Lanka for the tournament proper, scored 277 for 9 courtesy a fine 106 off 111 balls by their best player Brendon McMullen and his 137-run stand for the fourth wicket with skipper Richie Berrington (64).

Also read: World Cup 2023: Team-wise full schedule

Right-arm medium pacer De Leede saved his best performance for his 30th ODI as he grabbed a maiden five-wicket haul – 5/52 to restrict Scotland to under 300.

Then during the chase, he came when the 15th over was nearing its end and by the time he left, the Netherlands were on the brink of victory needing only three runs.

A lot of credit should also go to Indian-origin opener Vikramjit Singh (40), who provided a steady start and Saqib Zulfiqar (33 off 32 balls), who gave brilliant support to de Leede in their whirlwind 113-run stand for the sixth wicket in just 11.3 overs.

The qualifier in Zimbabwe this year has been a closely contested one with only Sri Lanka looking like a side in a league of its own as it asserted its supremacy throughout the tournament.

However, among other teams, Zimbabwe looked good till they faltered in their final hurdle and then Scotland, with a far better net run-rate than the Netherlands, needed to ensure that the opposition do not cross the target in 44 overs.

But the Netherlands have punched above their weight in this tournament and they tied a mammoth score of 374 and then won in the Super Over against the West Indies.

On the day, they were less than 100 in first 20 overs, having lost three wickets but De Leede played the innings of his life to bring about the greatest day in the life of these current crop of cricketers.

“We had a look at the targets, where we wanted to be at the halfway point. Maxy and Vikram set the platform for the rest of us to finish it,” De Leede said after the match.

“The rate was 10 to 11 runs per over, so we had to go to the T20 mode, try as many runs as we could and see where it would take us. Its amazing, cant describe the feeling, its going to be one big party tonight,” he added.

(With agency inputs)

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