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Alan Gardner in Chittagong
March 25, 2014
A storm drenched Chittagong on Monday evening but Netherlands had been blown away long before then. The side that made history last week during a stunning chase against Ireland set another record against Sri Lanka in their first match of the Super 10 stage, bowled out for 39, the lowest total in T20 internationals. From the ridiculously sublime to the plain ridiculous.
Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain who has already experienced a number of highs and lows at the World T20, was at a loss to explain how a batting line-up that had made 193 for 4 in 13.5 overs could tumble to 39 all out in 10.3 a few days later. The quality of the bowling was one element, with Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis snaffling five of the cheapest wickets after Angelo Mathews made three early incisions.
"We batted poorly. You've got to give yourselves a bit of a chance when you go out there, assess conditions, assess the bowlers and we didn't do that, " Borren said. "We played too many shots early and we were 1 for 3 - you can't leave your middle to late order to face Malinga and Mendis, the top order had to take more responsibility. Maybe we got a bit carried away, anyone can get out early but it was the way we were getting out that was poor."
Borren admitted embarrassment at the performance, although it is worth noting that Sri Lanka have a habit of summarily crushing the smaller teams at global tournaments - the three lowest ODI scores were all made against Sri Lanka. Expectations had risen after Netherlands became the only Associate side in the second round and Borren said the team would still be aiming to take down a Full Member in their three remaining games.
"Because this was a pretty embarrassing performance, the temptation could be to sit back and try and get through the rest of the games without making absolute idiots of ourselves. For me, that's not an option," he said. "I look at our top order and we have guys there who can really play and have played at this level and done fine before. This is my fourth World Cup and this is the first time something like this has happened. I know this team can play, I believe in this team and I hope we can show that in the next three games. It certainly won't be a case of damage limitation.
"We don't have an awful lot of experience at this level, however, we're better cricketers than that. We're not going in to every other game thinking about damage limitation, we're going to go and try to make an upset, we've got players in our team who are capable of that and hopefully that will show. Right now we feel a bit embarrassed about that, we've let down ourselves and also Associate cricket. Let's hope we can do better in the next few games."
Borren made his ODI debut in a match where Sri Lanka racked up 443, still the highest one-day score, although the Dutch at least passed 200 in reply (and Malinga's eight overs went wicketless). He described this innings, which lasted an hour only due to a ten-minute power cut, as "a slow-motion car crash" and said the top-order failed to shield the tail from Malinga and Mendis.
"You can't let your lower-order batters play against those two, because they'll just eat them for breakfast.
"I think I was standing there in the dugout, at the end of six overs, and it was 11 for 4 [15 for 4]," he said. "I walked off at the end of the six overs in the last game at 91 for 1. It's definitely a rollercoaster, we were on a bit of a high... Sri Lanka are a good side. But if we'd batted like we just did against Ireland we would have got thrashed. It's not like we haven't faced guys bowling 130kph outswingers before and we were just chipping them to cover and hitting them straight up in the air, so it's a bit strange. It's definitely a rollercoaster."
Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka's captain, was understandably chipper afterwards, noting how difficult it was for the smaller teams to face bowlers as unorthodox as Malinga and Mendis. "They come in and put in those performances every time," he said. "They played really good, we never underestimate anyone."
Asked if they could repeat the trick against England, who are on a particularly poor run of form, on Thursday, in a game where victory would effectively seal them a spot in the semi-finals, Chandimal grinned. "We'll have to do the correct things," he said. "We will try do that, we'll have to see."
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Alan Gardner
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