‘Biggest day’: South Africa stunned in World Cup boilover

On the heels of Afghanistan beating defending champion England, the Netherlands caused another upset at the ICC World Cup, beating South Africa by 38 runs.

Skipper Scott Edwards scored a famous half-century and then the Dutch bowlers chipped in to stun the Proteas with cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle calling it “the biggest day for the Netherlands” while Sachin Tendulkar said it’s a “night to remember”.

In a rain-curtailed game, Edwards’ 78 off 69 balls saw the Dutch recover from 7-140 to finish with 8-245 in 43 overs. Pacemen Logan Van Beek and Paul Van Meekeren shared five wickets, while veteran spinner Roelof Van Der Merwe took 2-34 as South Africa collapsed to 207 all out (42.5 overs).

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It was the Netherlands’ first win in the competition and it comes nearly a year after the Dutch sent the Proteas packing from T20 World Cup.

While it is still early days in this World Cup, the Netherlands’ win could see a similar impact as the tournament progresses.

South Africa is still on four points from three games but has lost its unbeaten record in sensational fashion. It is ahead of Pakistan — also on four points from three games — on net run-rate.

The Netherlands is now eighth in the points’ table, ahead of Australia on net run-rate.

“It is an extremely proud moment for us,” Edwards said, who was named player of the match. “We came here with high expectations and we have a very good team.

“We want to take a chance at qualifying for the semifinals, and for that you need to beat the top teams. South Africa is one of the favourites, and we have got our first win out of the way,” he added.

“Hopefully there will be more.”

Morning rain at Dharamsala delayed the game by two hours. The toss took place an hour later, and play was further delayed by an hour as rain returned. Once the weather cleared, there were no more interruptions and the game was reduced to 43 overs per side.

South Africa won the toss and opted to field, and its fast bowlers made good use of the conditions. Pacers Lungi Ngidi (2-57), Marco Jansen (2-27) and Kagiso Rabada (2-56) shared six wickets amongst them.

The Netherlands was down to 5-82 in 20.2 overs, with none of the top-order batsmen crossing the 20-run mark. Sybrand Engelbrecht was the top-scorer among the first five batsmen with 19 runs off 37 balls.

But the Dutch persevered as Engelbrecht added 32 runs off 31 balls for the sixth wicket with Teja Nidamanuru (20).

Engelbrecht’s dismissal brought Edwards to the crease, and he made his way to 50 off 53 balls. He had scored six fours and a six by then, carefully crafting lower-order partnerships.

Edwards put on 30 off 40 balls with Nidamanuru, and then another 28 off 41 balls with Logan van Beek (10). Then, he pressed on — scoring 28 runs off his last 16 balls.

At the other end, Van Der Merwe smacked 29 off 19 balls, including three fours and a six. The duo put on 64 off 37 balls as the Netherlands crossed 200 in the 40th over.

It wasn’t over yet — Aryan Dutt hit three sixes to score 23 off nine balls. The shell-shocked Proteas had conceded 64 runs in the last five overs.

The Netherlands carried this momentum forward, using a clever mix of pace and spin against the South African batsmen.

Two of its first three bowlers were spinners — Dutt and Colin Ackermann choking the scoring in the first powerplay. It worked as in-form Quinton de Kock was caught behind for 20. Van Der Merwe arrived to bowl Temba Bavuma for 16.

Considering South Africa’s middle order strength against spin, pacers came into action. The big moment came when Van Meekeren bowled Aiden Markram for just one.

Rassie Van Der Dussen holed out off Van Der Merwe for just four, as South Africa collapsed to 44-4 in 11.2 overs.

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Heinrich Klaasen added 45 runs with David Miller, raising hopes of a comeback. It wasn’t to be.

Klaasen was out caught at square leg off Van Beek for 28 runs. Miller resisted for a bit, before Van Beek returned to bowl him in the 31st over for 43 runs.

It was the last straw as South Africa continued to lose continuous wickets thereafter — a lack of partnerships through the batting lineup the chief reason for its defeat.

Bas de Leede ended Gerald Coetzee’s resistance of 22 runs, and then sent back Rabada for nine.

The Netherlands’ celebratory moment came on the penultimate ball, as Van Beek (3-60) had Keshav Maharaj caught behind. Maharaj’s 40 was the second-highest score for South Africa on the day, reflecting on its insipid batting performance.

It made for a wonderful script, as this Dutch team made it to the World Cup despite missing key players during the qualifying tournament played this past summer in Zimbabwe.

It was Netherlands’ first win over a Test nation in World Cups and only a third-ever after beating Namibia in 2003 and Scotland in 2007. For South Africa, it was a first World Cup loss against an associate nation.

The Netherlands next takes on Sri Lanka in Lucknow on Saturday, when South Africa will play England in Mumbai.

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