The Netherlands’ men’s cricket team’s tour to New Zealand got off to a sodden start after the one-off T20 International at McLean Park in Napier was abandoned without a toss due to heavy rain.
While it stopped raining in the evening closer to the match, the outfield was deemed wet enough to delay the toss scheduled at 18:40 local time. The bowlers’ run-up areas either side of the rock-hard pitch were damp and hence needed time to be soaked up.
Every time the umpires stepped on the ground with an umbrella, interests piqued. Inspections were carried out at regular intervals but that was the closest anybody got to any action in the middle. The match was eventually called off at 20:10.
‘The rain seems to follow us,’ head coach Ryan Campbell told a press conference. ‘In the last few months, we have been to South Africa where we were washed off. We went to the desert in Qatar [where] most of our preparations got washed off, it hadn’t rained there for three years! This week has been pretty frustrating. What I can say though, for the first time, in a long time, we had great preparation here in New Zealand. The players are extremely excited to get out there and play.
‘Obviously, disappointed about the rain but that’s one of those things that we can’t control but I would like a dollar for every person I have met in New Zealand who said, ‘It never rains in Napier’ because I reckon I would have made some cash this week!’ he added.
The three warm-up matches, too, were not without its share of rain interruptions so much so that the only T20 game on Monday was washed out. The first one-day fixture was cut short after only 29.1 overs were possible in the second innings as the Dutch fell short by 42 runs (DLS method) chasing 281.
While the second fixture was played out in its entirety, when the men in Orange could not defend 214 but bowlers did manage to take six wickets, it was briefly threatened by dark clouds and strong winds.
Campbell believes the upcoming three One-Day Internationals against New Zealand will be a crucial learning curve for the young Dutch squad.
‘Part of the reason when I was off with the job with the Netherlands was the fact that I believed we could win the World Cricket League and be in the Super League because I wanted to see our best young players of the Netherlands with something to aspire to and also to be then tested against the best cricketers in the world,’ he said.
‘The Black Caps are the best team in the world. They have been in the World Cup finals in the last two 50-over editions. For us to be on the same field as those blokes is inspiring to our players and it will inspire the next generation and that’s what we are here to do.’
The teams will now move north to Mount Maunganui and shift their focus towards the three ODIs. Netherlands are currently at the bottom of the league table having played seven fixtures with two wins, four losses and a washed-out game against South Africa.
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