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ICC World Cup: Netherlands to face Bangladesh at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

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In ICC World Cup, Netherlands will face Bangladesh today in Eden Gardens, Kolkata.  The 28th match between these two teams will start today at 2.00 PM.

To put it simplistically, Chennai has been low and slow, and turns when it wants to. Delhi and Mumbai have been flat and drawing good crowds. Bengaluru’s been playing fast and slow depending on who’s turned up. Dharamsala has been pretty and Ahmedabad huge. But what about Kolkata, that iconic venue that’s finally waking up after ten days of Pujo frenzy around it?

On first looks, there’s a lot unknown going into this fixture. Netherlands and Bangladesh haven’t played each other in an ODI in over 13 years. Now when they are finally set to, it’s at a venue which hasn’t hosted a World Cup game yet in the edition. And on top of that, you don’t even know what’s left of the two teams, both of whom are coming on the back of heavy defeats.

Both Taskin Ahmed and Scott Edwards were optimistic about the remaining four games in their campaign but didn’t really know what to expect from the venue tomorrow. The Netherlands captain hoped for “some supporters” at the Eden Gardens while Taskin expected a lot of Bangladeshis to make their way to Kolkata and cheer with other “bangali bondhu” (Bengali brothers and sisters) from the city in tow.

But look closer and there’s a lot that we know about the fixture, and the teams about each other.

Earlier this year, Max O’Dowd, Paul Van Meekeren and Colin Ackerman were among the Dutch cricketers plying their trade in the Bangladesh Premier League. All three of them had less cricket to turn to in the Netherlands after ICC’s scrapping of the ODI Super League. So here they were, in conditions as foreign as they can get, rubbing shoulders with the local players for some game-time. Ryan Cook, the current head coach of Netherlands, knows a thing or two about Bangladesh cricket in return, having served as their fielding coach for about three years previously. So there’s familiarity and there are threads to pick up from their T20 World Cup fixture in Hobart last year which Bangladesh narrowly won. And how that plays out in the history of Eden Gardens will be interesting.

The venue, which is the last to dive into this World Cup, is ready. Like it often does, it’s cleaned up well. The club house is glowing with LED strips, there are vertical green gardens adorning some entrances and the bucket seat-bearing concrete stands have been painted beige or lilac. Even the floors in the stands have been whitewashed. How that holds up to the footfall isn’t too difficult to guess.

Cricket Association of Bengal though wouldn’t mind another fresh coat of paint for the stands before the next game. For, on the points table, there isn’t a lot separating the two teams who will take centre stage on Saturday. And the more the number of people to watch, the merrier. Because we can really do with a close game of cricket.

Squads:

Netherlands Squad: Vikramjit Singh, Max ODowd, Colin Ackermann, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Bas de Leede, Scott Edwards(w/c), Teja Nidamanuru, Logan van Beek, Roelof van der Merwe, Aryan Dutt, Paul van Meekeren, Saqib Zulfiqar, Ryan Klein, Shariz Ahmad, Wesley Barresi

Bangladesh Squad: Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan(c), Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Towhid Hridoy, Taskin Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan

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