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Bangladesh held to 144-8 as Van Meekeren equals record

Netherlands' Paul van Meekeren reacts after taking a Bangladesh wicket . ©AFP

Hobart (Australia) (AFP) - Paul van Meekeren became the Netherlands joint all-time top wicket-taker as Bangladesh were held to 144-8 in their opening game of the Twenty20 World Cup at an overcast and cold Hobart on Monday.

The 29-year-old fast bowler bagged Soumya Sarkar and Yasit Ali to draw level with Pieter Seelaar on 58 T20 wickets, taking 22 fewer games to get there.

He helped tame the Bangladesh batsmen who struggled for momentum with Afif Hossain top-scoring with 38 and Bas De Leede also taking two wickets.

While Bangladesh qualified directly for the Super 12, their form since the 2021 World Cup as been ordinary, playing 19 T20s and losing 14 of them.

They entered the tournament after crashing in all four games in their tri-series warm-up with New Zealand and Pakistan.

In contrast, the Dutch were on a high after coming through the preliminary round, winning two of three games.

After losing the toss and being sent into bat, Bangladesh plundered 12 off Fred Klaassen's opening over and kept the pressure on as the bowlers struggled to maintain their line. 

With temperatures hovering around 12 degees Celsius (54 degees Fahrenheit), the Dutch took time to warm up but when Van Meekeren switched ends he found extra pace and Soumya Sarkar (14) in the sixth over, mis-timing a pull shot to De Leede.

Spinner Tim Pringe was brought on and ended fellow opener Najmul Shanto's innings on 25 in the next over, caught by Lorgan van Beek after an attempted sweep as Bangladesh faltered at 49-2.

The momentum swung towards the Dutch with dangerman Litton Das out for nine, slapping a Van Beek ball to Tim Cooper at mid-off, before the experienced Shakib Al Hasan fell four balls later, caught in the deep off Shariz Ahmad.

It was 19-year-old spinner Ahmad's maiden World Cup wicket to leave Bangladesh at 70-4 before a brief rain interruption.

They returned and van Meekeren struck again, clean bowling Yasir Ali with a yorker to draw level with Seelaar.

Hossain (38) and Nurul Hasan (13) put on 44 before De Leede removed them both in the same over as their innings drew to a close.

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