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Faced with an improbable target, Netherlands went after everything, and it all came together in spectacular fashion. Now, their captain Peter Borren says they can repeat the feat against their Super 10 opponents
March 21, 2014
Wasn't thinking about merely winning - Myburgh
A decent target in a 20-over match is generally regarded as anything that requires a chase of more than eight runs an over - 160-plus. Thirty more than that is considered a tough ask. That requires a chase of more than nine runs an over. Chop the overs to 14.2 and you've got an almost improbable challenge.
That's 86 balls in which to score 190. A required rate of 13.25 runs an over. More than two runs a ball. Boundaries have to rain. With someone like Chris Gayle or David Warner in the side, it may seem doable but still difficult. Without, who knows.
The Dutch knew that. They also knew they had no choice but to try. Winning the match after 14.2 overs would be meaningless. It would give them the same result as losing - a ticket back home. The only choice was to go for it. "We had nothing to lose and in T20 cricket that can be a dangerous thing," Peter Borren, their captain said. "It just came off tonight."
But Borren refused to pin the result of his side's chase down to luck alone. Instead, he said it was reward for what has gone on behind the scenes. "I am very proud of the boys. I know how hard this team has worked," he said. "We came here to make a statement and so far we have. The effort and energy that has gone into this - I feel as if we deserve some luck."
Fortune. They had some, but first of the bad kind. Their best bowler in this competition before this match, Timm van der Gugten, was the most expensive of the front-liners today. He conceded at more than 10 runs an over and overall, the Dutch allowed the Irish batsmen too many. Borren was not happy.
"At half-time, I was a little disappointed," he admitted "It was our worst bowling performance of the tournament so far. I thought we bowled really beautifully against Zimbabwe and then well against UAE. But today, we gave away 25 or 30 runs too many. We dished up a few too many half volleys in first six overs."
Then there was fortune of an even worse kind. Michael Swart, the regular opener, hurt his hand and could not open with Stephan Myburgh. Borren decided to promote himself. "We just went hell for leather," he said.
The Irish were stunned. "Everything just disappeared," William Porterfield said.
With Myburgh seeing the ball like a watermelon. the good fortune began. Netherlands scored 91 runs in the powerplay, before they had lost their first wicket.
Then it got better. After three quick wickets a fourth was avoided when Tom Cooper was dropped on 1. He went on score 45 off 15 balls and hit six of the team's 13 sixes. Borren was nervous. "Any time you are chasing that many runs and you need that many runs per over and you lose wickets, you think that's the end of that dream run," he said. "But everyone went in there and did it on the day." Luck? Maybe.
Borren understands luck, in any sense, only befalls a team sometimes. "It won't happen every time but I think this is reasonable reward," he said. "We can look at this 14-over chase and say that was remarkable and it won't happen very often or we can look at it and say we played good cricket in the other two matches and things went our way now."
We know which way Borren will be looking at it, especially after Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup earlier in the year. "We didn't have luck in New Zealand and we let ourselves down there," he said. "We've done much better here."
The reward of qualifying for the main draw also brings a burden: that of living up to the expectations that come with having knocked out of contention some of the teams who were expected to qualify. Netherlands lost to the full member in their group, Zimbabwe, but did not do them the favour of beating Ireland narrowly. And by defeating Ireland by that unbelievable margin, they forced a team that had looked unstoppable to fly home.
For Borren, the Dutch have to play in the main draw for both the teams who exited at their hands "I hope this shows what Netherlands cricket can do and what this team is capable of and I hope we can justify our qualification," he said. "I hope we can do them (the other teams) the justice of performing credibly in the next round."
Netherlands are the only non-Full Member in the main draw, which may come as a relief to the four teams they are up against - Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand and South Africa.
"Initially I don't think they will be too concerned. Hopefully they will have a good look at what we do, actually hopefully they don't," Borren said. "But, without mentioning names, I can see a couple teams that we can knock over."
England will likely top that list, especially after Lord's 2009 but there seems to be someone else in Borren's sights. Immediately after being asked about his team's chances in the main draw, Borren made reference to another country when asked how he would celebrate with Man of the Match Myburgh. "We've got a nice bottle of South African red and we're going to sit in his room and have a glass," he said.
South Africa are battling injury and expectation and could be another side Netherlands will look to target. For now, they're going to party in a city they've said made them feel at home with people they've never met before who dotted the stands in orange. "We don't know who they are," Borren said about the Dutch contingent in the crowd. "They've come from the embassy or somewhere. It was fun to have a little orange section. Without that atmosphere it would have been difficult. They got us over the line."
Whether they will travel to Chittagong remains to be seen but the Dutch have promised to take some of their brave approach with them, tempered with sensible cricket. "I don't think we can just go there and swing at every ball and it will come off every time," Borren said. "I would love it if it could happen more often but a fearless approach can be very dangerous. I don't think we can get away with it every day. We got away with it today. But this is not a real fluke.
"I hope people have sat up and noticed these matches. Whilst there are limitations to our cricket, we can also play." That they certainly can.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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