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South Africa Vs Netherlands, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Match 15: Three Key Battles To Look Forward To

Netherlands will expect nothing but ruthlessness from an upbeat South Africa, who have notched up two commanding wins in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 so far. However, the Scott Edwards-led Dutch team can take heart from the way they have bowled and fielded

Marco Jansen (L) and Heinrich Klaasen celebrate an Australian wicket in Lucknow.
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South Africa have long held the unsavoury reputation of never doing well at ICC events, and not without reason. Their empty trophy cabinet despite a perennially strong arsenal, especially in the fast bowling department, makes the cricketing world wonder how and why the pressure of the big stage keeps getting to the Proteas. Almost as if to make amends this time around, the Temba Bavuma-led side have begun their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign in right earnest, registering massive back-to-back wins against sub-continental titans Sri Lanka and five-time ODI World Cup champions Australia. Up next against them are Netherlands, a side that is relatively inexperienced but not devoid of spirit and resilience. (Preview | Scorecard | Full Coverage)

The Proteas will aim to make it three consecutive victories when they face the Dutch outfit at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Tuesday. Netherlands, on the other hand, have suffered two defeats in as many games against New Zealand and Pakistan. Though they will not expect much different from the in-form South African side, the Scott Edwards-led Dutch team can take heart from the way they have bowled and fielded in the tournament so far, and would look to do more of the same against RSA to try and spring a surprise.

Let's take a look at the three key battles that could be decisive to the outcome of the RSA vs NED match in Dharamsala on Tuesday.

Aiden Markram Vs Bas de Leede
Aiden Markram has earned his stripes as the fulcrum of the South African batting order. Though he opens the batting for the Proteas, Markram possesses the ability to play both, the aggressesor and accumulator, as the situation demands. He has been among the runs, and kicked off his campaign by scoring the fastest century ever in the ODI World Cup. Similarly, Bas de Leede has headlined Ducth fortunes so far with his all-round show. Though he is a batting all-rounder, medium pacer de Leede has been among his team's best bowlers at the 2023 World Cup and will be tasked with getting rid of the stylish right-hander Markram to unsettle the Proteas.

Heinrich Klaasen Vs Logan van Beek
This one promises to be a fascinating contest between a rampaging batter and a disciplined bowler. The big-hitting Heinrich Klaasen has time and again wreaked havoc with his explosive ability down the order and especially in the death overs. Up against him will be the 33-year-old Logan van Beek who bowls a tight line and knows how to bowl at the death as well. The pace of van Beek, though, could be favourable for across-the-line slogs that Klaasen favours and hence it will be as much a battle of wits as of skills. Change of pace could be the key for van Beek, and spotting it early the mantra for Klaasen.

Vikramjit Singh Vs Marco Jansen
An exciting battle of young southpaws awaits us at the start of the Netherlands innings. The 20-year-old Vikramjit Singh, who was born in Cheema Khurd, Punjab, but moved to Netherlands at the age of seven with his family, is a left-handed opening batter who scored a half-century against Pakistan in the Dutch's World Cup opener. On the other end will be the tall and lanky Marco Jansen, who is all of 23 but has the menace of a seasoned fast bowler. Jansen has the knack of extracting extra bounce from most pitches and he would look to do the same in Dharamsala to unsettle Vikramjit early doors.

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