CRICKET WORLD CUP
Proteas crumble in another shock loss to Netherlands
The Proteas crashed back to Earth after a 38-run defeat to the Flying Dutchmen at the Cricket World Cup.
South Africa were felled by 38 runs by the Netherlands in their third Cricket World Cup match in Dharamshala, India, on Tuesday.
Coming in at No 7, Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards smashed a superb 78 runs off 69 deliveries to help his side set a competitive 245 for eight in 43 overs — the game was shortened by seven overs per side because of a rain delay.
South Africa’s usually reliable top six crumbled in the chase, with David Miller top-scoring with 43 off 52.
It was South Africa’s first loss at the World Cup after they thumped Sri Lanka and Australia in their opening two matches.
It was the second time in 12 months that the Dutch sprang a surprise on South Africa in a Cricket World Cup — they beat the Proteas by 13 runs in the T20 World Cup in November last year.
That victory knocked South Africa out of the tournament. This time, fortunately, the Proteas still have six more matches to make the knockout stage of the tournament.
In 22 previous Cricket World Cup matches, the Netherlands have won only twice — against Namibia and Scotland.
Their last victory at the quadrennial tournament was in 2007 — the same tournament in the West Indies where Herschelle Gibbs dispatched former Dutch bowler Daan van Bunge for six sixes in an over and South Africa smashed them by 221 runs.
Now, 16 years later, it was South Africa who were chasing leather.
Lack of ruthlessness
South Africa had the Netherlands on the ropes several times in their innings. The Dutch were 50 for four after 15.1 overs, 112 for six after 27 overs and 140 for seven after 34 overs.
But, first Edwards and Roelof van der Merwe (29 off 19) then Edwards and Aryan Dutt (23 off nine) combined to smash 104 runs off the final nine overs of the innings.
It took the Dutch to an above-par total of 245 for eight.
South Africa faltered with their discipline with the ball, conceding 32 extras, which included 21 wides. Only skipper Edwards scored more runs for the Dutch than the extras, and the Netherlands conceded only four extras.
South Africa also stuck with a short and slower ball tactic for an extended period toward the end of their bowling innings, despite getting several early dismissals with full-length deliveries, including clean bowled and LBWs.
While this tactic did pick up the wicket of Sybrand Engelbrecht (19 off 37), caught by Marco Jansen at fine leg, all the other late-order Dutch hitters struck the short balls well.
No 10 Dutt smashed three massive sixes, one off Kagiso Rabada, one off Lungi Ngidi and one off Gerald Coetzee. All three were off slower deliveries bowled into the pitch.
South Africa started well enough with the bat, getting to 36 for no loss before South African-born Colin Ackermann dismissed Quinton de Kock (20 off 22) after a bungled sweep shot.
Proteas captain Temba Bavuma (16 off 31), who has not got going with the bat in the tournament yet, struggled again as Van Der Merwe clean-bowled him with his first delivery of the day.
Aiden Markram (one off three) and Rassie van der Dussen (four off seven) fell quickly to leave South Africa reeling on 44 for four after 12 overs.
Heinrich Klaasen (28 off 28) and Miller put on a steady run-a-ball 45-run partnership before the former was caught on the boundary trying to hook the ball.
A glimmer of hope remained with Miller at the crease, but he was soon in the sheds after attempting to slog a straight ball over leg.
Keshav Maharaj struck a fighting 40 off 37 balls, but the game was already lost when he came to the wicket.
South Africa take on England at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday in their fourth World Cup match. DM