Dispirited Netherlands feel pain of tough format
Listen to Peter Borren after a fairly close defeat to a Test-playing nation, and you will feel the helplessness of these teams going through a cruel qualifying process. Clearly, Netherlands were not a side outplayed by Bangladesh. Perhaps, they bowled a couple of length balls too many at the death. Perhaps they missed one big shot in overs 17 and 18 when they batted. There shouldn't be a way you put in such a show on day one of the tournament, and get knocked out. They almost are.
Three hours into their tournament, Netherlands are almost out, and they know it. Now, they need a big win against Oman, Ireland to beat Bangladesh, and Oman not to win anything. A day before this started, the team was looking to downplay the pressure of the format and looking to put up a brave face, but in Borren's voice now you could hear broken spirits and hearts.
"It is such a tough tournament this you know," Borren said. "You don't get a warm-up or one bad result. Eight-run margin here, and I can find so many different moments to make up that eight runs. It's going to be difficult. We have two more opportunities to play better cricket than we did tonight. We have some real characters in the team. It's going to be tricky to qualify but I believe in the team and the character in the team."
It is a tough tournament, and it requires tough standards, which is why Borren was tough on his bowlers, who did a really good job for the most part of Bangladesh's innings. "To me it is really disappointing," Borren said. "To beat Bangladesh, who are a quality team, you have to play really good cricket, and I don't think we did that today afternoon. Think with the ball, we bowled quite a few in the slot and went for six or seven sixes down the ground."
With the bat, Netherlands wanted to take the game deep and then back themselves under pressure. "We talk about getting into a position where any team can win the game and I'm pretty sure with four overs to go in this game, we were probably in the box seat," Borren said. "And the 17th over, from Mashrafe Mortaza, was probably the one that's killed us, I think. Three runs and the big wicket of Roelof van der Merwe. Very disappointed to have got us into a position where we should have won the game and not closed it out. Obviously credit to the Bangladesh bowlers. Taskin Ahmed hardly missed a yorker. But in saying that, very disappointing not to win having been in that situation."
That situation was 54 required off the last five overs, leading up to which Borren had managed 18 off 22 balls. From the 16th over onwards, you could see a clear and sudden shifting of gears, which perhaps left them too much to do. Borren agreed that perhaps they could have aimed for one big over earlier. "Ideal situation we would win in 18 overs," Borren said. "But I think we got ourselves into a reasonable position to be honest. I agree I would have rather gone further ahead of the rate and not have to win it at the end. It's true. Chasing 154, you don't want to win the game in the last over."
Even if they learn that lesson, chances are it won't help them in this tournament.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo