South Africa v Netherlands preview: Proteas looking to secure World Cup berth
South Africa will face the Netherlands in two ODIs that could define their entire year, aiming to seal their place at the World Cup.
Following an exciting but disappointing 2-1 defeat against West Indies, the Proteas need to win both matches against the Dutch and hope Ireland lose at least one of their three clashes with Bangladesh in May.
The top eight teams in the World Cup Super League automatically qualify for the World Cup in India, with the bottom five needing to go through further qualifiers with five associate teams.
South Africa sit in 10th place, behind West Indies (eighth) and Sri Lanka (ninth), and ahead of Ireland in 11th, but two victories will take them up to eighth.
Their matches against the Dutch will be the conclusion of a three-match series that was supposed to take place in late 2021, but following no result in the first contest, the second two were postponed due to concerns around a COVID-19 variant.
Now that those matches are due to be played, South Africa find themselves needing to take them seriously and have selected a strong squad accordingly.
Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, David Miller and Aiden Markram are among those to have been made available by Cricket South Africa despite their impending involvement in the IPL.
"We have named our strongest possible squad for these games given the importance of these matches in the context of qualifying for the ICC men's Cricket World Cup," South Africa's white-ball coach Rob Walter said.
"We have a job to do and I am confident that with this group of players, we can get the job done."
The Netherlands bring the same squad that lost 2-1 in Zimbabwe, which included a dramatic one-run victory for the hosts in Harare in the second of their three encounters.
Roelof van der Merwe could feature for the first time since the first match of this series against the nation he used to represent.
Fast bowlers Paul van Meekeren and Fred Klaassen returned against Zimbabwe, but the Dutch will be without Brandon Glover, Bas de Leede and Colin Ackermann due to county commitments.
De Kock looking to emulate Williamson and Warner
Quinton de Kock (5,949) is just 51 runs away from becoming the seventh player to score 6,000 for South Africa in men's ODIs.
Should he do so in the first match against the Netherlands, he will be the joint-third fastest player (139 matches) to reach the landmark in the history of the format with New Zealand's Kane Williamson and Australia's David Warner.
Dutch looking for another rare win
While they sit comfortably bottom of the World Cup Super League, the Netherlands can at least take solace in getting a rare win in their series against Zimbabwe.
Their three-wicket victory on March 21 was the only win of their last 18 men's ODIs (L17).