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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Netherlands squash South Africa by 38 runs for maiden win

In reply to the Netherlands’ 245/8 in a game reduced to 43-overs-a-side due to rain, all South Africa could manage was 207 in 42.5 overs. No wonder, this turned out to be the Dutchmen’s biggest win ever in the 50-over World Cup

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 18.10.23, 09:13 AM
Man of the Match Scott Edwards, the Netherlandscaptain, during his unbeaten knock of 78 againstSouth Africa in Dharamsala on Tuesday.

Man of the Match Scott Edwards, the Netherlandscaptain, during his unbeaten knock of 78 againstSouth Africa in Dharamsala on Tuesday. PTI photo

The ongoing World Cup witnessed its second major upset inside two days. After Afghanistan stunned defending champions England by 69 runs in New Delhi on Sunday, the Netherlands thumped South Africa by 38 runs in Dharamsala on Tuesday for their maiden win in this edition.

In reply to the Netherlands’ 245/8 in a game reduced to 43-overs-a-side due to rain, all South Africa could manage was 207 in 42.5 overs. No wonder, this turned out to be the Dutchmen’s biggest win ever in the 50-over World Cup.

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Importantly, this was also their second win over the Proteas in 11 months, with the last one coming during the 2022 T20 World Cup. Just as they had done at the Adelaide Oval last November, South Africa once again made a hash of a favourable situation.

Opting to bowl first, they had the Netherlands reeling at 140/7 in the 34th over. But even the lead quicks kept erring in line, allowing their opponents easy runs in the closing overs of the first session.

Credit also needs to be given to the Dutch captain Scott Edwards (78 not out), former South Africa left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe (29) and Aryan Dutt (23 not out) for not buckling under pressure and unleashing the strokes whenever there was an opportunity.

Those late strikes from the trio had certainly affected South Africa, who are notorious for choking. They did get off to a slow but steady start, but once Quinton de Kock — the pillar of their batting — perished for 20, a collapse seemed palpable.

Pacer Logan van Beek ended with best figures (3/60) for the Netherlands, while Paul van Meekeren, Bas de Leede and Van der Merwe picked up two wickets apiece on a pitch having something in it for the bowlers and where the ball skid as well. For sure their win over the West Indies in the Cup qualifiers back in June was by no means a flash in the pan, the Dutchmen proved so with this comprehensive victory over the Proteas.

“I’m proud of the group,” captain Edwards said later. “We wanted to have a chance in the semis and if you want to do that, you’ve got to beat top teams. And South Africa are one of the favourites the way they are playing, so it is a good win for us.”

South Africa would like to quickly forget the setback. There are many more matches to play.

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