Days after Afghanistan shocked defending champions England in Delhi, the cricketing world was once again treated to an enthralling upset. This time, it was the Netherlands adding another remarkable chapter to the fairytale stories of the ICC Cricket World Cup by stunning the in-form South African side with a 38-run victory in Dharamsala on Tuesday, October 17.
In pursuit of a competitive target of 246, set by the Netherlands within their allotted 43 overs, South Africa began their innings with cautious optimism. The opening pair got off to a steady start, reaching 36 without any loss. However, cricket has a unique ability to shift momentum swiftly, and that’s exactly what happened.
Put into bat, the Dutch team found themselves in dire straits at 50/4 and then a perilous 82/5. It appeared as though South Africa’s decision to bowl first was paying off handsomely, and the Dutch side was struggling to find their footing. The match seemed to be firmly in the Proteas’ control at this stage.
Scott Edwards played with a meticulous and calculated approach, digging deep to rebuild the innings. He was particularly aggressive against South Africa’s left-arm spinner, Keshav Maharaj, employing the sweep shots to great effect. His calculated aggression not only helped him accumulate runs but also put the Proteas on the back foot.
In a dramatic twist, South Africa went from a position of relative comfort at 36/0 to a perilous 44/4 in the blink of an eye. The Dutch bowlers were relentless, relentlessly probing for weaknesses in the Proteas’ batting lineup. The early wickets, often considered the pillars of any chase, fell like dominoes, and South Africa found themselves in dire straits.
It was during this crucial juncture that Keshav Maharaj emerged as a ray of hope for South Africa. He played a cameo role towards the latter stages of the innings, providing a glint of optimism to the South African supporters. Maharaj’s ability to find the boundaries and keep the scoreboard ticking momentarily reduced the margin of defeat that South Africa was staring at.
Despite Maharaj’s valiant effort, the challenge was simply too great. The relentless Dutch bowlers maintained their composure, sticking to their well-executed plans, and finally, they managed to wrap up the South African innings. The Proteas were bowled out for a total of 237, falling 38 runs short of their target.
South Africa’s disappointing batting collapse, from 36/0 to 44/4, was indeed the turning point of the match. It underscored the unpredictability of cricket and the capacity of underdog teams to create upsets on any given day. In this match, it was the Netherlands’ day to shine, and they showcased their mettle in both batting and bowling, while South Africa’s formidable reputation took a significant hit. The Dutch victory will be remembered as one of the most extraordinary moments in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup, illustrating that in cricket, as in life, surprises can be the most captivating part of the story.
Key Player of The Match
Match Summery: Netherlands 245/8 in 43 overs (Scott Edwards 78*, Roelof van der Merwe 29; Marco Jansen 2-27, Kagiso Rabada 2-56) beat South Africa 207 in 42.5 overs (David Miller 43, Keshav Maharaj 40; Logan van Beek 3-60, Roelof van der Merwe 2-34, Bas de Leede 2-36) by 38 runs