Nimir on the block against Ebadipour

Nimir on the block against Ebadipour

Dutch opposite and captain Nimir Abdel-Aziz keeps upgrading. Undoubtedly, he is the Netherlands’ scoring machine, and if he performed better in the team’s second FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2022 match than he did in the first, the 30-year-old point-maker did even better in the third.

The phenomenal Dutchman put away another 32 points towards Wednesday’s 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18) win over Iran that put the undefeated Netherlands at the top of the final Pool F standings. That was as many points as he scored two days ago against Argentina, but a more detailed look into Nimir’s stats reveals a huge improvement in his output.

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The most obvious difference was that, unlike in the previous game, which went to five sets, Nimir scored his 32 points in just four sets, which meant an impressive average of eight points per set.

He also produced four aces, one more than in the match against Argentina, and delivered three kill blocks, also one more than in the match against Argentina.

Arithmetically, that meant the opposite scored two points fewer in offence. However, his amazing success rate of 78% in attack was considerably higher than the already excellent 68% he registered on Monday. To kill as many as 25 balls in 32 spiking attempts was indeed a rare spectacle in high-level volleyball.

Needless to say, Nimir was the high scorer of the match, but it is worth pointing out that he tallied just two points fewer than all of his teammates combined in that game. The match’s second best scorer, Iranian outside hitter and captain Milad Ebadipour finished with 18 points.

The 32 putaways against Iran improved Nimir’s tournament total to 85 points (68 spikes, 7 blocks and 10 aces) and put him on top of the World Championship’s best scorers' ranking, 25 points clear of the closest contender, Jesus Herrera of Cuba. The flying Dutchman also topped the tournament’s individual rankings for best attackers and for best servers.

It is not unusual for Nimir to lead these three individual charts at major competitions. He did so just recently, during the Volleyball Nations League 2022 Preliminary Phase, repeating his feat from the previous VNL edition in 2021. He was the best scorer and the best spiker at EuroVolley 2021, and the best server at EuroVolley 2019. He also earned similar honours at many club competitions, including the CEV Champions League and the Italian League.