Netherlands v England, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 31, 2014

Dutch delight cannot mask uncertain future

Netherlands' defeat of England was the culmination of an extraordinary tournament for the Dutch who must now return home not knowing when their next fixture will be

Lord's 2009 was close. Chittagong in 2014 was a thrashing. For the second time in T20, Netherlands humbled England and this time there was daylight between the teams as they finished an embarrassing 45 runs short after a hapless chase.

It was nothing less than Netherland deserved. Bowled out for 39 three matches ago by Sri Lanka - which promoted the unsurprising response from some quarters questioning their presence in the tournament - they showed immense character and fortitude. They should have beaten South Africa, made New Zealand work hard for victory and have now humbled England.

It has, in many ways, been an extraordinary tournament for the Dutch: starting with the controversy of Tom Cooper's call-up to replace the injured Tim Gruijters to its joyous conclusion when James Tredwell and Stephen Parry were left stranded mid-pitch.

"When you win by 45 runs in a T20, it wasn't really close was it?" Peter Borren said, and that should not be taken as arrogance or disrespect: just fact. From the midway point of the match it was not close. England flayed like a village side who had struggled to rustle up XI players for a Sunday-morning match.

Asked to compare this victory to the one at Lord's in 2009, Borren's response was an indication of the belief the side has built up. "This one in a way is more satisfying because it's more of a build-up. We sort of went under the radar in 2009; they didn't know anything about us. This is more of a long-term thing. We just ambushed them in 2009; we won off the last ball. Tonight we won by 45 runs. The last one was just excitement, this one our guys really deserved it."

"In 2009 it was a big shock but if you look at all our cricket we played here I don't feel tonight feels like an upset. It was of course, but if you watched all our cricket then you would have thought we'd beat someone so it's not a big surprise."

One of the ongoing themes of this tournament - due to its structure and due to the recent changes at ICC - has been the place of Associates in world cricket. As Borren has said in victory and defeat, they have been here representing their brethren in the second phase following their stunning chase against Ireland.

They could not have done much more to make those who matter sit up and take notice. Whether they will remains another question, but it would be a foolish, one-eyed administrator who does not acknowledge the vast part Associates can play.

However, Borren knows, for all the joy of tonight, Netherlands cricket is entering a sobering period. They are unsure when their next major fixture will be having lost ODI status.

He called their absence from the English domestic scene - where they played in the 40-over tournament for four years before being ditched as part of a restructuring - as "super bad for us" and said it had played a huge part in developing Dutch cricket but was quick to acknowledge the role of the ECB. "We can't slate them because they've given us four years of fantastic competition," he said.

"We might not have much cricket on the radar and all have to go and find a job," he added. "We've got nothing this summer, not one fixture, so this will be a nice one to finish on for a while. Hopefully is sorted out because we're very proud of our effort here."

Mudassar Bukhari, who earned the Man-of-the-Match award for his 3 for 12, worked in Burger King at Amsterdam airport before becoming a full-time cricketer. "This is my full-time job now, I don't know how long for with what's going on but hopefully we can get some fixtures to play because this sure beats flipping burgers. It's much better than that, I tell you that."

Of course, if they had been good enough to qualify for the 50-over World Cup these concerns would not be so stark. Their performances in Bangladesh will only go to add to the frustration over the missed chance in New Zealand, but after one of their greatest days on a cricket field, it felt harsh on the Dutch to have to contemplate the idea that they may never have it so good again.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on April 2, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    maybe the Dutch team should play in the South African domestic competition given how many South African born players they have?

  • Ray on April 1, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    Of course, it's ridiculous that the Dutch do not have a fixture list for this coming season. Also the ECB should be ashamed of itself for not being able to find a place for them in the domestic English structure. However, if the ICC is serious about developing cricket in places like the Netherlands, then it needs to do some real work at improving facilities at the ground level and, perhaps more importantly, getting the local media to take an interest in promoting the sport. Yesterday's victory does not even make the headlines of the sports pages on the NOS (Dutch national broadcaster's site) which says it all about the current enthusiam for cricket amongst the majority of the Dutch population.

  • Dummy4 on April 1, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    ICC can extend the teams getting ODI status from 6 to 10 or even 12 (all the team that played in the world cup qualifier) and also should ask the boards of the full members to help the associates out, maybe include national team in their domestic format then the game will be truly global and also competitive. More the competitive teams, more the revenue ICC gets.....

  • Farial on April 1, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    ICC should review their decision of cancelling ODI status of Netherlands and give them chances to improve their cricket. They should keep in mind the newly ODI status countries will also need time to develop their game. Ireland can come up and help the Dutch cricket team at this moment. They can invite a dutch club to participate in their newly formed domestic league. The dutch Cricket board can really concentrate in T20s at this moment. They should renovate their structure and present a fresh proposal for funding and reestablishment in the ODIs.

  • Rajesh on April 1, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    It is great to see this 'practically Amateur' Dutch team performing so well in this tournament, where they have competed strongly with the 'professional' teams; stretching them so hard in nearly every game and finally getting one over the line. They have gained a fair bit of momentum in the last few years, and who knows what 'else' could have been achieved if RTD would have been a part of this team. ICC needs to find a 'fair' way of including Associate teams like the Dutch in their FTP / Playing Schedule so that this momentum is not lost. More games means more motivation -> more money -> better Infrastructure -> better performance in the long run. Hopefully these promising teams don't go the ZIM way (although they have challenges resulting from purely non-cricketing reasons).

  • Dummy4 on April 1, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    ICC can run itself like a corporate machine, they may mint money from sticking a logo in every patch of free surface associated with a cricket match - but may they also invest in the growth of these Associate nations. As the most cash-rich and powerful cricket boards around - BCCI, CA, ECB and CSA really need to integrate Ireland, Netherlands and Afghanistan into the domestic cricket scene or at least give them some international standard practice. Once upon a time cricketers like Larwood (coal mine), McGrath (gypsy wagon), Richards (prison ward)and Sehwag (rice mill) emerged because we dared to spread cricket beyond the white-collar tea parties. It's truly time to reach out further ...

  • Jawwad on April 1, 2014, 1:52 GMT

    Great article Andrew. Very much enjoyed reading it. I've been a fan of Netherlands cricket ever since their victory over England in 2009. They are a top associate side with Ireland and Afghanistan. Who knows in coming years these teams will be competing for top spots. On the side note, stories like Mudassar Bukhari's are very heartwarming and you always want to cheer for these guys. Pakistan produces lot of cricket talent and it is evident from their presence in quiet a few teams, top and associate alike.

  • Chaitanya on April 1, 2014, 0:08 GMT

    This is very sad to read - I do hope there's a better plan for Associates post-restructuring. The joy on these people's face upon the win is what sport is about....please adminstrators - At the very least, these Associates ought be included in domestic competitions of their 'catchment' test nations. So, Nepal/Afgan have the sub-continent teams, Ireland/Holland have Eng, African countries have SAf, US/Fiji etc have WI etc. Even if it is for T20s only...give them the that you've seen what they can do in this format!!