First-person reports from the stands

Ireland v Netherlands, World Twenty20, Group B, Sylhet

March 22, 2014

Dutch surprise

Nibras Taifur

Stephan Myburgh celebrates after reaching his half-century, Ireland v Netherlands, World T20, First Round Group B, Sylhet, March 21, 2014
Stephan Myburgh wrote the fairytale script for Netherlands © ICC
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Series/Tournaments: World T20

Choice of game
It was the last day of the men's World Twenty20 matches in in Sylhet and there was no way that I was going to miss this. The first match was pretty much one-sided, with Zimbabwe winning comfortably against UAE. It all now depended on the second match, where Ireland were up against Netherlands. As the scorching sun finally moved away to rest behind the green hill, the crowd started building up. I can safely say not one of us would have guessed what we were about to witness.

Key performer
When Netherlands came out to bat facing the daunting total of 190, I don't think anyone would have even contemplated about them qualifying. Stephan Myburgh changed everything. The sheer ease with which he was hitting the boundaries was just fantastic to watch. We could all sense his belief. The ball flew everywhere, and the sense of bewilderment settled upon the entire stadium. If it weren't for the dot balls when he was on 44, I bet he would have equalled the record for the fastest fifty. Unbelievable run rates flashed on the big screen as overs passed by. I believe it was 17.45 at one time and it was all courtesy of Myburgh and Peter Borren. Tom Cooper also deserves a mention, carrying on in a similar fashion to Myburgh. When he hit those four consecutive sixes, I thought he was going to do a Yuvraj Singh on George Dockrell.

The oranje brigade
There were quite a lot of Dutch supporters in the crowd and they were all proudly adorned in their national colour. Some of them even added a touch of Bangladeshi flavour to their attire - wearing orange panjabis over their khaki shorts. I was sitting close to two of them. It was clear they were not too familiar with the rules of the game but they often asked the two locals, who had accompanied them, if they had any confusion.

Wow moment
As soon as the winning shot was scored, the Dutch players all rushed to the field, picking up the two batsmen and taking them for a piggy-back ride. The crowd went into a frenzy, having witnessed one of the best chases, if not the best chase, in a T20. I can safely say the sting from the disappointment of what happened in Chittagong the night before was soon lost in the jubilation of the Netherlands players and supporters.

Shot of the day
Off the fourth ball of the second over, Myburgh dropped on one knee and sent the ball soaring over midwicket. Off the next ball he did the same. It was a sign of things to come and by then everyone in the crowd was forced to sit up and take notice.

The ride home
The small Dutch contingent gathered outside of the gates of the stadium, dancing in circles. They were sometimes joined by a few enthusiastic locals. Some of the supporters sat on top of the mini-buses, proudly waving their national flag. As their vehicles made their way along the streets, bystanders cheered them on, flashing thumbs-up signs.

As our fairytale comes to an end and the Dutch one begins, I can't help but feel a touch of sadness amongst all the joy of the night. I have had to skip meals, deal with terrible sunburn, and yet it is the happiest I have felt in a long time. To the commentators and crew at the stadium, the players and staff of Ireland, Netherlands, UAE and Zimbabwe, I would like to wish a heartfelt thank you. Sending lots of love to you all from Sylhet.

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Nibras is an English language teacher who spends more time talking about the importance of Test cricket than of grammar.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Ahsan on (March 24, 2014, 3:24 GMT)

it was a great match and the one who didn't watched it missed it....

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

It was an Exceptional Performance From The Dutch!!!!!@@@@

Posted by Dik on (March 23, 2014, 0:07 GMT)

People keep saying "small grounds, small grounds" -- they cleared the rope by 40-45 meters, even on regular boundaries those are 6s.

Posted by Android on (March 22, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

excellent game that was very very nice.expecially netherlands players opener myburgh and all rounder tom cooper that was twentastic game .............R@ms

Posted by Android on (March 22, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

greatest match ever played in T20

Posted by Fahmim on (March 22, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

You are officially the luckiest cricket-watcher in Bangladesh. Getting to watch what I thought was the greatest T20 match, and writing about it on Cricinfo! Congrats :D

Posted by Android on (March 22, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

its just a master class act from the Dutchman belief in themselves and now they will spend some more days in banglAdesh

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