Haris Rauf closes it out, Shakeel takes POTM

Haris Rauf

HYDERABAD: As the game drew to a close, Pakistan’s bowling attack proved too formidable for the Dutch. Haris Rauf, arguably the world’s premier fast bowler at the moment, exulted with a fist pump, even as he dismissed the No 11 batsman. It was an engaging cat-and-mouse contest that kept all intrigued as the game neared its conclusion. Rauf finishes with figures of 3 for 43.

Other encouraging signs for Pakistan in the bowling department include Hasan Ali’s impressive spell with the new ball in his ODI comeback, Shadab Khan’s ability to extract turn, Mohammad Nawaz’s control, and Iftikhar Ahmed’s crucial wicket. At certain junctures, the Dutch appeared to be in control, and they will carry valuable lessons from this defeat into the remaining eight league matches, according to a report in ESPNcricinfo.

While it may seem like a distant memory, it’s worth remembering the partnership between Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan, who put together a crucial 120-run stand in 114 balls. Both batsmen notched up half-centuries after Pakistan had stumbled to 38/3 early on. Without their contribution, the game could have taken a completely different trajectory. For his fifty, Shakeel outshines Bas de Leede to claim the Player of the Match award.

With that, we bid farewell, dear friends. There were plenty of intriguing subplots to savor today, and they will all be dissected in the forthcoming match report. Until tomorrow.

Haris, Hasan vs the No 11

Paul van Meekeren faced two short deliveries this evening, one from Hasan Ali and another from Haris Rauf. After each delivery, the No. 11 batsman engaged in a chat with the respective bowler, showing a penchant for living dangerously. He even let out a roar in Haris’ direction after dispatching the bowler for a boundary.

Mere Formality Now

Logan van Beek is struggling to run, and with only the No. 11, Paul van Meekeren, left by his side, it seems like a mere formality now. The Netherlands is aiming to protect their Net Run Rate (NRR), while Pakistan is doing its best to boost theirs.

At the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan suffered a significant defeat against the West Indies, severely affecting their NRR. This ultimately cost them a spot in the semi-finals despite tying with New Zealand on 11 points. It’s a lesson they won’t forget in the 2023 edition.

As the camera pans towards the stands, it’s heartening to see many fans still present. They’ve been fantastic neutral supporters. Although their numbers were modest today, their enthusiasm remained high.

The End Is Nigh?

A heartfelt salute to Bas de Leede, but his heroic innings has been terminated by Mohammad Nawaz. It leaves one wondering if this might be the beginning of the end tonight. De Leede almost single-handedly kept the Netherlands in the game throughout, but the gulf in overall quality, especially in batting, is now evident.

He departs after a resilient 67-ball 68, wearing a disappointed expression, but his effort today earns the applause of everyone, including Pakistan fans. The presence of Logan van Beek at No. 9 and Roelof van der Merwe, a determined warrior of the sport, means we can’t entirely call it curtains yet. Netherlands is at 164/7 in 33.3 overs. They will also rue the 100 runs they conceded between batsmen No. 7 to 11 during Pakistan’s innings.

Pakistan Now on Top

The bottom line is that de Leede is left with only the lower order to work with, and the required run rate has climbed above 7. The pace bowlers are on fire, and Shadab Khan is delivering as a different bowler. All of this means that the Netherlands now require a miracle. Fortunately, they’re no strangers to World Cup miracles.

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