Netherlands keen to reverse fortunes
"Try again, fail again, fail better." That, as Samuel Beckett put it, may be the best Netherlands can hope for against South Africa, as they attempt to pick up the pieces from their opening Super 10 fixture. Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain, spoke of a difficult night for his players after the humiliation of being dismissed for 39 by Sri Lanka, the lowest score in T20 internationals, but restated the team's goal of bringing down one of the bigger teams before they depart.
"That is the motivation, we've got three more games, it's Twenty20, why couldn't we beat a Full Member?" he said. "We've done it before and this is a talented squad. There's probably a few people who doubt that, hopefully we can prove them wrong."
Sri Lanka ruthlessly squeezed their orange-clad opponents into submission during an innings that Borren said felt like a nightmare. Having made history against Ireland in Sylhet, Netherlands did so in more ignominious circumstances back in Chittagong, where their tournament seemed to be going off track during the warm-up matches. Borren's team has had some ups and downs in recent months and he at least knows that the players know how to respond to adversity.
"We've done a bit of analysis and emotionally it was pretty tough. That evening, going back to the hotel, I think there were a few boys on suicide watch," he said, half-jokingly. "But we woke up the next morning feeling pretty good, like it might have been a nightmare. We've had a little bit of time now, the boys have refocused and we're looking forward to making amends, showing we can play. That's the focus, no one's looking back too much. It was pretty difficult, the first day, but after the next game we can completely forget about that Sri Lanka one.
"We're very keen to compete, we've got three more games to do that and obviously in the first game we didn't compete at all. The team's in pretty good spirits and a big motivation for us is to show that we can play. We let ourselves down the other night."
As Netherlands's last two games have shown, T20 can be a game of wildly fluctuating fortunes, but Borren highlighted the consistency of the top sides, particularly in bowlers not delivering so many bad balls, as a benchmark for his players. Regular exposure to competition at the highest level is the best practice Associates can ask for and eggs will surely be broken along the way.
Having been torn asunder by Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis, Netherlands may find South Africa's bowlers present a more straightforward challenge. Pace and bounce are more familiar foes but Netherlands also managed to lose early wickets against the gentle seam of Angelo Mathews on Monday. South Africa need to win to avoid their semi-final chances becoming a lottery and in Dale Steyn they have a bowler quite capable of giving Netherlands further nightmares.
"We've faced pace before, played South Africa and Steyn and done okay," Borren said. "He's in fantastic form and it's going to be someone that we'll have to watch. Perhaps we'll have to give him his four overs. We're not going to look to be too aggressive against him but it's a bit more of an orthodox attack - world-class bowlers but we've faced them before, whereas perhaps a couple of the Sri Lankans had something completely different.
"It's obviously a lot quicker than we're used to, you saw the pace from Dale the other night, the Kiwis struggled with it, but we've faced them before so hopefully things go a bit better." Even if they fail.
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here