De Leede does family name proud as Dutch qualify for World Cup

From the moment Logan van Beek smashed 30 runs off Jason Holder in the Netherlands’ remarkable Super Over win over the West Indies, it was clear that there was something special about this Dutch team.

Arriving in Zimbabwe without their county stars, few gave them a chance of finishing in the top two of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 – and even less so after a battling opening defeat to Zimbabwe.

But when they racked up 374 runs against the West Indies to set up that magical Super Over, they served notice to the rest of the competition.

The Dutch could score, and score quickly.

That is exactly what they needed to do against Scotland in a shootout for the final place in India later this year.

After the Scots scored 277 for nine, the equation for the Dutch was thus, chase down the runs in 44 overs and they would join Sri Lanka in qualifying for the World Cup.

At one point, it looked as though they had left themselves too much to do, but then a familiar name in Dutch cricketing history stepped up.

All-rounder Tim de Leede was part of the Dutch teams that played at the 1996, 2003 and 2007 World Cups, joining Bas Zuiderent as the only two players to feature in the Netherlands’ first three World Cup campaigns.

The tournament in the West Indies was his swansong with the national team, but 16 years on, it was son Bas de Leede who stepped into the breach.

At just 23, he showed calm way beyond his years as he paced his innings to perfection.

With 40 overs gone, the Netherlands were 233 for five, and still needed 45 runs from four overs. It seemed a tall order but up stepped De Leede.

Back-to-back sixes off Mark Watt showed that the Netherlands were not going to go meekly into the night, with the second bringing up a maiden ODI century for De Leede.

Partner Saqib Zulfiqar added a third maximum in an over that went for 22 and suddenly the Dutch were favourites.

Two more sixes from De Leede in the next over all but sealed it, leaving them needing three from two overs. And while there was an added twist as De Leede was run out for 123 with two still required, the bulk of the job was done.

The Dutch plan had worked to perfection.

De Leede explained: “We had a look at the targets, where we wanted to be at the halfway point. Maxy (Max O’Dowd, 20) and Vikram (Vikramjit Singh, 40) set the platform for the rest of us to finish it. The rate was 10 to 11 runs per over, so we had to go to the T20 mode, try as many runs as we could and see where it would take us. It’s amazing, I can’t describe the feeling, it’s going to be one big party.”

What was most remarkable about the knock from De Leede was just how antithetical it was to his usual style.

In 28 previous ODI innings, he had only scored at better than a run-a-ball three times. His 19-ball 39 against Oman in the Netherlands’ last game was the only time he has scored quicker than this knock.

De Leede needed just 92 balls to hit seven fours and five sixes – having hit seven in total before today.

That performance with the bat followed a maiden five-wicket haul for De Leede in ODIs, truly stepping up in the biggest moment.

It was cruel on Scotland, who had beaten Zimbabwe on Tuesday to keep both their and the Netherlands’ hopes of qualification alive.

After that win, Michael Leask had spoken about how it might need one, three or even 11 Scots to put their hands up and do something special to see the team home.

As it turned out, it was one Dutchman who did his father’s legacy proud and ensured the Netherlands will be back at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup for the first time in 12 years.

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