After the embarrassment of being at the receiving end of a one-sided defeat at Sri Lanka’s hands, The Netherlands faced the heartbreak of losing a match from a winning position against South Africa at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Thursday (March 27).
The Netherlands did well to keep South Africa down to only 145 for 9, and then reached 80 for the loss of only one wicket in the eighth over, but allowed the pressure to get to it, being bowled out for 139.
Peter Borren, its captain, put the loss down to some poor decisions taken at key moments in the game. Imran Tahir was the key beneficiary of this, picking up 4 for 21.
“Particularly on a wicket like this, you’ve got to be careful of the ball coming on. Tahir wasn’t spinning the ball, he was just bowling quicker deliveries and wrong ’uns that we should have played a lot better. It was more of the mental decisions rather than spin itself,” said Borren. “The main issue is the top order struggling. To say we struggled against spin in the first game, well Ajantha Mendis was bowling to the lower order. Guys at three four and five should be able to deal with spinners in the middle overs, with a manageable run-rate.”
“It’s not easy if you have to go at eights and nines but, it was just a run a ball. So I think we should be good enough to do that. I’m more concerned about what we were thinking in those stages to go across the line. We have to learn from that. We don’t get the opportunity very often to beat a full member team and I think when we do, we have to really go hell for leather. Today we got ourselves in a position where we didn’t and it showed.”
Borren believed his team should have handled Tahir much better than it did. “We were hoping we’d go a bit better against orthodox spin. It’s legspin, he’s bowling googlies and quicker legspinners, it’s not something completely mysterious,” said Borren. “We just made bad decisions, playing across the line. He bowled well, we know what he can do and we know that’s what he’s going to bowl. It was just poor decision-making.”
While the defeat was disappointing, Borren added that there were positives that his team could take from the outing. “In a way we can take a lot of positives out of today. It showed good character coming back from where we were a couple of days ago. Dealing with this, we don’t have much time to get over it, only a couple of days. We’ve got to take the good things out of it and learn from those mistakes we made in the middle order with the bat,” said Borren. “We just really want to get a win, or an upset at this tournament. We had a really good opportunity today, we’ve got two more opportunities and I really hope we can take one of those.”
The performance, Borren hoped, would take some of the heat off his team. “I believe this team can play, I’m very glad to say we suited up, because we were getting bagged back home, and guys were having a bit of a go at us. At least we showed that we can compete,” said Borren. “This was one of the best teams in the world and we should have won pretty comfortably. We didn’t play anywhere near 100 percent, if we’d played 100 percent we would have won comfortably. That’s the shame.”
Borren had faith in his unit, and looked to take one of the two opportunities left in the tournament. “We’ve got quite a few guys who have played at a reasonable level of cricket. For a few of us, this will be our fourth World Cup. We’ve played professional cricket elsewhere, it’s not like we’re a 39 all out team, that’s an anomaly,” said Borren. “It’s mainly about belief. Our confidence took a pretty big hit last night but we had two days off, a bit of a break and we came back. We’ve got the attitude that we’ve got nothing much to lose but we’ve also got a lot of skills and we showed that tonight.”