There will be honest conversations in the South Africa camp after a stunning 38-run defeat by the Netherlands on Tuesday put the brakes on their impressive Cricket World Cup campaign in India, captain Temba Bavuma said. The Proteas were clinical in victories over Sri Lanka and Australia in their first two games but sloppy and careless in what proved to be a well-deserved victory for the Dutch in Dharamsala.
The Dutch batting unit was never going to be meek pushovers in this match, and the restraint shown by their batters in the face of off-spinner Aryan Dutt, in particular, should be commended. The Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards led the way with a magnificent 78, not out, that was laced with ten fours and a six.
But the bowlers embarrassed the South African batters, and the discipline they showed with the ball will significantly impact how the tournament unfolds. Rabada, Ngidi, and Jansen took multiple wickets to send South Africa tumbling alarmingly in their pursuit of 245 for eight from 43 overs.
South Africa’s hopes of a quick and easy win looked like they had been blown away when a poor decision from field umpire Kaylin Swart allowed a ball to slip through the hands of Lineth Beerensteyn to leave him stranded on the boundary for 31. A steady partnership between Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller gave some hope, but the latter could not capitalize on a dropped catch in the deep on 23 and departed for just 43.
Bavuma was the most guilty of all the batters in the South Africa line-up as he played a shot that was out of his league and ended up playing on his back foot for a single to mid-wicket. He then attempted another swipe at a Jansen outswinger and was caught in front to add insult to injury.
Quinton de Kock was the next to go when he misjudged a high-pitched delivery and was trapped lbw off the bowling of the man of the match, Dutt. Bavuma’s fumble enabled Bas de Leede to clear the ropes with an unchallenged cut for his first four of the game, giving the Netherlands an excellent start to their innings. The South Africa innings then stalled, and a final over blitz from the Dutch – including a hat-trick of wickets for Van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, and de Leede – sealed an unlikely but highly satisfying victory. The Proteas must play catch-up when they meet England at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. The Dutch, who drew their first game of the tournament against Afghanistan, are now second in Pool A on six points after three wins from five matches. The other pool contains Australia, who defeated Sri Lanka on Tuesday, while New Zealand is third with one win from three games. The top two from each group advance to the semi-finals, while the bottom team is eliminated.