Netherlands 158 for 4 (Ackermann 41*, Myburgh 37, Cooper 35, Maharaj 2-27) beat South Africa 145 for 8 (Rossouw 25, Glover 3-9, Klaassen 2-20, de Leede 2-25) by 13 runs
Regardless of the outcome, India will go to the semifinals, and Bangladesh vs. Pakistan will play in a knockout round.
After their dreadful run in Adelaide ended in yet another heartbreak—possibly the biggest they have experienced in recent years on the cricket field—South Africa will have to deal with all of that and more.
The Netherlands, though, will revel vigorously after influencing a turning point in their cricket history. If winning on Sunday over one of the tournament favorites was significant, qualifying for the Super 12s would be even more significant because a top-four finish in the group would ensure automatic qualification for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
All of Pakistan and Bangladesh would have joined Netherlands in celebrating. Because Netherlands’ victory also ensured India’s qualification for the final four, the match between those two teams later in the afternoon—which might have been abandoned had South Africa prevailed—was changed into a knockout match to determine the second semi-finalists from Group 1.
Ironically, it was Roelof van der Merwe, a Johannesburg native who represented South Africa in two tournaments (2009 and 2010), who delivered the game-changing catch that struck fear into the hearts of his countrymen.
Van der Merwe sprinted over 20 yards back, from short fine-leg towards square leg, to latch on to a catch from David Miller off Brandon Glover, with South Africa requiring 47 off 29. He covered a lot of territory while looking directly into the sun, and then, as the ball was twirling in the air, he pulled off a blinder.
The person who had been in the way of the Netherlands’ improbable victory was no longer there. There was both mayhem and magic in what came next. While South Africa collapsed, pride and fervor erupted in the Netherlands. For the team in orange, it was a triumph to savor; for the men in green, it was a difficult pill to chew.
The highest boost is from Myburgh
With his heavy hitting up front, Stephan Myburgh launched the Netherlands’ assault. He made his intentions known by hitting Kagiso Rabada twice on the rise to the extra-cover boundary in the second over. He displayed excellent aggressive batting over the course of the following 20 minutes, appearing unfazed by the reputations of Rabada and Anrich Nortje as he pulled, whipped, cut, and drove his way to seven boundaries. He had established a solid foundation at 56 for no loss in eight overs. Max O’Dowd was eager to turn the strike over and play the ideal second foil even as Myburgh gave it his all.
Cooper amplifies it
With all of his BBL playing experience, Tom Cooper kept the pace even though Netherlands lost to Myburgh in a slog sweep. Cooper utilized the shorter boundaries to his advantage as he punished Aiden Markram and Rabada after being let off on 11 when he laid down a difficult return opportunity. But he made money from more than just the draw. Cooper reverse-swept Keshav Maharaj for six over deep point where there were no boundary riders as the fields were positioned for the shot. He was starting to pose a threat, but South Africa retaliated by quickly taking O’Dowd and him out of the game.
Netherlands were sluggish going into the final four overs, and Colin Ackermann was having timing issues. He needed to rapidly establish his hitting range because he was on 9 out of 11. Cooper and Bas de Leede’s wickets were ineffective. However, Netherlands was able to regain the initiative as Rabada was struck for three fours in the 19th over, including a superb reverse scoop by Scott Edwards. By smashing two sixes in the final over, bowled by Wayne Parnell, Ackermann completed the ideal finish, finishing with 41 not out of 26. Netherlands scored 31 runs in the final two overs, giving them the lead going into the interval.
The no-power powerplay in South Africa
However, left-arm seamer Fred Klaassen stuck to his strengths, varied his lengths and being deadly accurate, to thread together 12 dot balls in his opening three overs, all of them in the powerplay. Quinton de Kock smashed a cover drive off the second ball. De Kock’s dismissal, who nicked behind while charging down the track, was a bonus.
When Temba Bavuma played all around a full delivery after moving a long distance across, he was the next to go for a run-a-ball 20. Temba Bavuma has been under pressure to score every time he has batted. He witnessed the flattening of his leg stump as South Africa fell to 39 for 2.