When former Protea Roelof van der Merwe let out a fervent roar of celebration after his outstanding catch, at Johannesburg-born Brandon Glover bowling alley to take David Miller’s key wicket, he was unlikely to feel much regret for the millions. of hearts recovering in South Africa when the Proteas foolishly came out of the T20 World Cup, losing to qualifying Holland by 13 points.
Chasing 159 wins, South Africa had slipped to 111/4 after 15 overs and their hopes were pinned on Miller, their ultimate goal. The savvy southpaw had gone to 17 when he threw the top edge on Glover and Van der Merwe jumped back from a short, thin leg, and dove for a superb hold.
Glover, who took 3/9 in his two overs, then got Wayne Parnell behind three balls later for a duck and, when Heinrich Klaasen (21) was caught in the corner of the mid-paced cow Bas de Leede in 18th beyond, South Africa was nearly buried. Eventually they limped down to 145/8.
The Netherlands deserve all the credit for their stunning victory, playing bowling and fielding with tremendous tenacity.
South Africa started the chase provisionally when Quinton de Kock (13) and Temba Bavuma (20) both just scored on a run-a-ball and the Proteas could only score 39/2 in powerplay.
Rilee Rossouw (25 of 19) looked menacing before pulling Glover straight to the deep square leg and Aiden Markram (17) sent a leading edge, well taken by a Stephan Myburgh dive, to cover the excellent Fred Klaassen (4- 0- 20-2).
The red card summed up what the Netherlands did so well: taking the rhythm off the ball and using variations, which made the Proteas really struggle to score freely.
It was something the Proteas offense failed to do and there can be no sympathy for their lack of awareness and adaptability to conditions, which allowed the Netherlands to score a competitive 158/4 after being sent out.
Aside from the outstanding Anrich Nortje (4-0-10-1) and Keshav Maharaj (4-0-27-2), Proteas’ attack simply lacked intensity and it was the Netherlands that took the lead from Start.
Pretoria-born Stephan Myburgh scored 37 of 30 balls, with opening mate Max O’Dowd providing invaluable support with 29 in an opening stand of 58 in eight and a half overs.
Tom Cooper blew 35 deliveries out of 19 and another South African expat, Colin Ackermann, put the finishing touches on the winning total with his brilliant 41 not out of 26 balls. The former Eastern Cape star also threw three probing off-spin overs for just 16 runs, keeping lefties quiet.
This time around the Proteas couldn’t blame anything beyond their control – there was no rain, no weird misfortune – for failing to make it to the semifinals.
They defined history by choosing to beat first on a pitch that would only slow down and their whole mindset seemed incredibly soft when there was so much at stake.