Lucknow, 03 November: A series of run-outs plagued the Netherlands after a bright start from their batsmen in the clash with Afghanistan in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at the Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium here on Friday. Erratic running resulted in the loss of four Dutch batsmen while the rest of the wickets were snared by Afghanistan spinners. Keeper Ikram Alikhil stood out for his sharp work behind the stumps, being involved in three run outs, a stumping, and two catches. Netherlands’s new opening pair didn’t last too long at the crease as the pinpoint accuracy of Mujeeb Ur Rahman accounted for Wesely Barresi in the very first over. He trapped the veteran Dutch batsman lbw for 3. This was Mujeeb’s 100th ODI wicket. The Dutch batsmen were, however, soon among runs. Max O’Dowd and Colin Ackermann were positive, hitting an assortment of fours. A number of their boundaries also came out of fine touches down the leg side or edges which safely travelled behind the wicket. The duo were already going over six an over at the end of the first Powerplay. Afghanistan’s concerns were further exacerbated when Rashid Khan walked off the pitch with an injury concern in the fifth over. However, the all-rounder returned back on the field a few overs later. The Dutch pair were going steady when a superb throw from the deep accounted for O’Dowd (42). The ball drifted to the batsman’s leg, who placed it towards the fine leg region. The batsmen took off with an easy two in mind, but O’Dowd’s return was impeded by some exceptional work from Azmatullah Omarzai, who charged in and induced a direct hit. The Netherlands scoring rate dropped as the new batsmen tried to settle in. However, a sequence of run outs off back-to-back balls derailed their innings. Sybrand Engelbrecht set off for a sharp single after placing a ball straight to the mid-off. Sharp work from Rashid sent back the set Ackermann (29). Off the very next ball, skipper Scott Edwards tried to sweep Mohammad Nabi, but missed and ended up edging towards the keeper. Ikram Alikhil stopped it with his legs, before running out Edwards for a duck. Nabi soon had Bas de Leede caught behind for three, and the Netherlands had lost half their side at the start of the 21st over. From 112/5 at the mid-innings mark, the Netherlands failed to build up towards an ending that would get them to a strong total. While Engelbrecht looked the best batsman out there, hitting a flurry of boundaries, other batsmen fell to erratic strokes. And when Engelbrecht was himself run out while going for a rash single in the 35th over, the Dutch effort was all but over. Scott Edwards called it right at the toss and elected to bat first. Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi also said that he too would’ve liked to bat on this wicket. For the Dutch, Vikramjit Singh and Shariz Ahmad were out, with Roelof van der Merwe and Saqib Zulfiqar coming in their place. Wesley Barresi was due to open the innings in place of Vikramjit. For Afghanistan, Naveen-ul-Haq missed out as Noor Ahmad entered the side, opting for a four-pronged spin attack. Netherlands and Afghanistan remain in the hunt for a semi-final spot following victories for each side in their last match at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, reported ICC. The Dutch beat Bangladesh to add to their earlier upset over South Africa, but need to back it up against Afghanistan and then win their two remaining matches to snatch a potential place in the knockout stage.