Netherlands and Scotland go head to head next week in the longer formats of the game in pursuit of their dreams for a Test status as well as a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 when they lock horns in the four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup and the ICC World Cricket League Championship.
In the Intercontinental Cup, Netherlands with seven points sits in sixth place, while 2004 winner Scotland is fourth on 13 points. This means the side that collects 20 maximum points will jump to the top of the table. This outcome will surely inject fresh impetus to their ambitions of winning the ICC Intercontinental Cup and qualify for the ICC Test Challenge, which will be played against the 10th-ranked Test side on a home and away basis in 2018. If the ICC Intercontinental Cup winner wins the ICC Test Challenge, then it will secure Test status until the next ICC Test Challenge, which will take place in 2022.
In the ICC World Cricket League Championship, a sole possession of top spot will be up for grabs as both sides share number-one position with four points each. The top sides from this tournament will progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be held in Bangladesh in 2018.
Rival captains Peter Borren of Netherlands and Scotland’s Preston Mommsen agreed that July’s tournament will have no bearing in the forthcoming matches and both sides will have to start from scratch.
“I don’t think us sharing the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 title has any relevance at all to the ICC Intercontinental Cup match. That was a different format. Both teams had a fantastic tournament, but this is a new series, and that is where our focus is now,” said the 32-year-old Borren, who will be playing his 22nd first-class match.
He continued: “Our four-day cricket has been a disappointment to me for some time. Our white ball cricket has been great, but we haven’t cracked the longer version. Four-day cricket is difficult, I would love to see an improvement in the mental application that the format requires. Other than the 20 points, I would really love to see our batters spend entire sessions at the crease and to see our bowlers come back hard in their third spells of the day.”
Mommsen, the 27-year-old top-order batsman, said: “We played some good cricket during the Twenty20 qualifier, so did the Dutch. Of course, it was a shame we couldn’t complete that final. However, that was a different format while different skills will be tested over the next few days, especially in the four-day format. Whenever we play the Dutch, we know we have to be at our best and the next few games will be no different.
“Indeed, this competition (ICC Intercontinental Cup) now creates a pathway to Test cricket, so every game we play, every point we can take, will be crucial to us moving closer to Test cricket. We have to remain focused on playing solid and consistent cricket. There’s no point looking too far ahead, but, of course, that remains a bigger goal for this team.”
Mommsen said his side had the ability to succeed in the longer versions of the game. “We have some special talent coming through, especially with the ball, so we’re looking forward to seeing how our younger players develop over the next few years as they start to get more and more opportunities.
“This is a team that definitely has the skills and ability to play a winning brand of cricket in the longer version of the game. It’s been very positive, and we’ve shown a lot of intent. There’s no reason why certain aspects of our white ball game cannot be transferred into our four-day cricket. We have an exciting squad and we will continue to adopt that style of cricket.”
Netherlands (from) – Peter Borren (captain), Rahil Ahmed, Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Quirijn Gunning, Vivian Kingma, Paul van Meerkeren, Roelof van der Merwe, Stephan Myburgh, Max O’Dowd, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar and Matthijs van Schelven.
Scotland (from): Preston Mommsen (captain), Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross, Joshua Davey, Alasdair Evans, Hamish Gardiner, Michael Leask, Con de Lange, Matthew Machan, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Robert Taylor, Craig Wallace and Mark Watt.
Umpires - Peter Nero and Chettihody Shamshuddin
Match Referee - David Jukes
Intercontinental Cup Table
Team Played Won Lost Draw Points
Ireland 1 1 - - 20
Namibia 1 1 - - 20
PNG 1 1 - - 14
Scotland 1 - - 1 13
Afghanistan 1 - - 1 7
Netherlands 1 - 1 - 6
Hong Kong 1 - 1 - 0
UAE 1 - 1 - 0
ICC World Cricket League Table
Team Played Won Lost Points
Netherlands 2 2 0 4
Scotland 2 2 0 4
Hong Kong 2 1 1 2
Kenya 2 1 1 2
UAE 2 1 1 2
Namibia 2 1 1 2
Nepal 2 0 2 0
PNG 2 0 2 0