By Wisden India staff
We’ve underperformed a bit in the last year and I think we’ve showed what we are capable of, says Man of the Match Stephan Myburgh
The Netherlands chased down Ireland’s target of 190 in 13.5 overs – it needed to do the job in 14.2 overs to qualify for the Super 10s on net run-rate – with 37 balls to spare – scoring at a whopping rate of 13.95. “It’s sunk in that we have qualified, but I will probably replay those 14 overs in my head a few times, because the way the boys played hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” said Borren. “I think it’ll be a while before that happens. This is not exactly a fluke because we have played well in the last three games.”
The Netherlands let Ireland’s batsmen get after its bowling and finish with an imposing score. Terming his team’s bowling performance as one of the worst in the tournament, Borren said, “At half-time, I walked off a bit disappointed. I guess this was our worst bowling performance in this trip so far.
“We bowled beautifully against Zimbabwe the other day. To try and defend 140 was never going to be easy. We also restricted UAE to 150, but 190 was probably 20-30 runs too many. Obviously Ireland’s batters are good players, but we definitely dished out plenty of half-volleys, particularly in the first six overs.”
Following Zimbabwe’s trumping of UAE, Netherlands needed to win and win with lots to spare. “We just went out there to hit the ball. We had nothing to lose, and I guess in T20 cricket, that can be a dangerous thing for the opposition,” said Borren.
“We turned up today thinking that we had maybe 18 overs to chase Ireland’s score, but obviously since Zimbabwe thrashed UAE that made it a little bit more difficult. So when I came to the ground thinking 18 overs, I genuinely thought we had a good chance. Obviously that being cut down, and having to chase 190 at the end of the first innings, we just went out with nothing to lose, and it paid off.”
A wicket in T20 cricket can usually cause a switch in momentum, but the Netherlands batsmen delivered one after another. “I think any time that you’re chasing that many runs with as many runs per over needed, if you lose wickets, you’re going to think it’s the end of the dream run. But credit to the guys who came in. Benny Cooper smashed a big six and the last two big bombs that Wesley Barresi hit were fantastic,” said Borren. “I guess everybody did their bit on the day. It won’t happen every time, but we had nothing to lose. Today was nice to see the batters put their hands up and get the job done.
“I’m very proud of the boys. I know how hard this team has worked in the last six months. We obviously have had a bit of luck, but the boys played very well. Just the effort and energy that the boys have put into where we are right now, I feel we deserved a bit of luck to be honest. We didn’t have any luck in New Zealand and it’s gone our way this time.”
Assessing the competition across world cricket, Borren said that the teams are extremely competitive, even at the lower end of the Test-playing nations. “Anyone can beat anyone, particularly in Twenty20 cricket. That’s been shown in the last two days, where Zimbabwe got over UAE – which was probably expected, but the other three – Nepal beating Afghanistan, Hong Kong beating Bangladesh and us beating Ireland results was not expected,” he said.
“I just hope that now we can go ahead and justify our qualification from Group B because the other sides are good sides and Ireland and Zimbabwe are good sides, whom we’ve topped. I hope we can do them the justice of going to the next round and performing well.”
Stephan Myburgh, the Netherlands batsman who scored 63 off just 23 balls to set the platform for the chase, called the qualification as a dream come true, said, “When I came to the ground today I knew we just want to qualify. When I walked off the field and had to chase quite a big total. That’s what we said in the change room – that we are going to go hard, take on the Power Plays and luckily it paid off.”
Pondering over the impact this win will have on Netherlands cricket, Myburgh and Borren echoed similar sentiments. Myburgh said it was excellent for the country’s cricket, adding, “We’ve underperformed a bit in the last year and I think we’ve showed what we are capable of. We can beat those teams (the other Associate and Affiliate nations) when we play well.”
Borren added, “I hope people see that whilst there are limitations to our cricket, we can also play. We’ve worked pretty hard to get here and there’s a lot of talent there. I hope just the performance we put out there has shown what Netherlands cricket can do and what this team is capable of.”
Recollecting the Netherlands causing an upset in the World T20 in England in 2010, beating the home side at Lord’s off the last ball, Borren rated this win against Ireland as the second best he’s been a part of. “It’s a different feeling. We came in here with an expectation that we could qualify and go through to the Super 10s, but that day at Lord’s, we just wanted to give it our best. That was a special occasion though – it was at Lord’s, it was a full house and we won off the last ball. So the game couldn’t have been any closer either. This one ranks right up there too,” he said.
“I think we sort of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit in New Zealand in the World Cup Qualifiers. We’re not sure yet what the ICC are going to decide. But I think this tournament has shown that there are a lot of teams that are capable of competing against one another and possibly compete with full members.
“I hope the ICC finds room for us in the calendar because we’ve played a lot of cricket in the last three years. We’ve been very lucky to be in the High Performance Programme and hopefully we continue to get the funding and the fixtures.”