Netherlands will strive to take the home advantage when it faces debutant Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the four-day first-class Intercontinental Cup 2015-17 in Amsterdam on Tuesday, 16 June.
This will be the final match of the first round, which earlier saw Namibia defeat Hong Kong and Ireland earn 20 maximum points against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The match between former champions – Scotland and Afghanistan – was marred by poor weather but Scotland still managed to claim 13 points against Afghanistan’s seven after only one innings was completed.
Tuesday’s game will mark the Netherlands seventh appearance in the Intercontinental Cup. In all, it has played 26 matches, winning four, losing 14 and drawing eight.
Cricket was introduced to The Netherlands by British soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th Century and the Netherlands national team played its first-ever game in 1881 and became an Associate Member of the ICC in 1966.
Ryan ten Doeschate’s 259 not out against Canada in 2006 is the highest individual score in the competition’s history.
For PNG, Tuesday marks the latest exciting chapter in its cricket history as it plays its inaugural Intercontinental Cup match. Organised competitions have been played since the 1950s and PNG became an Associate Member of the ICC in 1973.
Looking ahead to the historic tie, Netherlands captain Peter Borren, who is expected to lead his side in Amsterdam, said: “We are very much looking forward to hosting PNG for the first time. We know they are a talented bunch and I’m sure the series will provide the Dutch cricketing public with real entertainment.
“The Intercontinental Cup gives us a rare opportunity to test ourselves in the multi-day format of cricket. We are determined to perform well in the tournament and will be aiming for nothing less than an outright win to kick start our campaign.
“We have an experienced squad who have been working very hard in recent times; a strong batting line-up, with Wesley Baressi and Rahil Ahmed the ones to watch. Our bowling attack is nicely balanced, giving me plenty of options in the field. Look out for Timm van der Gugten with the new ball. We can't wait. Red ball cricket at the beautiful VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen, it doesn't get better than that!”
PNG captain Jack Vare-Kevere added: “Every cricketing country would one day like to play Test cricket and the ICC Intercontinental Cup offers a great pathway for countries like PNG into Test cricket.
“It is a great feeling for the players to be representing Papua New Guinea in our first-ever Intercontinental Cup match and we are all looking forward to the experience.
“Netherlands obviously has the home ground advantage and had the wood on us last time in the 50-over format, but we just need to do the basics right and stick to our plans. The boys have prepared really well for this series and can’t wait to get out there.
“We have a couple of returning faces in the squad with Sese Bau and Loa Nou coming back in after a couple of years. They’ve come back hungrier and stronger than ever and combined with the rest of the squad I am confident that we have brought a really strong and eager team for this match.”
ICC World Cricket League Championship
Following the conclusion of the ICC Intercontinental Cup match, Netherlands and PNG will also play two 50-over ICC World Cricket League matches in Rotterdam (22 June) and Amsterdam (24 June).
The Netherlands has participated in 1996, 2003, 2007 and 2011 ICC Cricket World Cups. The side has also played in all the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers (previously known at the ICC Trophy). It won the 2011 competition in Canada and twice finished runner-up. In 2009, when the event has renamed as the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, and it progressed to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 after finishing in the top four of the tournament that was held in South Africa. In the 2014 tournament in New Zealand, the Netherlands finished outside the top six, which meant it could neither qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 nor got ODI status until 2018.
In same New Zealand event last year, PNG finished fourth to attain ODI status until 2018. It subsequently became the first team to win its first two ODIs when it defeated Hong Kong twice at Townsville last November.
Its total of 455-9 and victory margin of 369 runs against Gibraltar at Cannock in 1986 is the highest in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament. Arguably its most famous player is Geraint Jones, who also played 34 Tests and 51 ODIs for England between 2004 and 2006, but was born in Papua New Guinea.
NETHERLANDS (from): Peter Borren (captain), Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Ben Cooper, Dariel Doram, Max O’Dowd, Timm van der Gugten, Quirijn Gunning, Ahsan Malik, Paul van Meekeren, Stephan Myburgh, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar, Michael Swart
PAPUA NEW GUINEA (from): Jack Vare-Kevere (captain), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, Mahuru Dai, Willie Gavera, Loa Nou, Kila Pala, Pipi Raho, John Boge Reva, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Tony Ura, Vani Vagi Morea, Assadollah Vala, Norman Vanua
Match Referee: Steve Bernard (Australia)
Umpires: Sarika Siva Prasad and Gregory Brathwaite
ICC Intercontinental Cup 2015-17 (as on 14 June 2015)
16-19 June – Netherlands v Papua New Guinea, Amsterdam
ICC World Cricket League Championship fixtures:
22 June - Netherlands v Papua New Guinea, Rotterdam
24 June - Netherlands v Papua New Guinea, Amsterdam