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June 5, 2009
As if to rub it in, Netherlands celebrated their astonishing four-wicket victory at Lord's in the home dressing room as a little part of the home of cricket became forever Dutch.
The moment the winning run was scored the entire squad sprinted onto the outfield as the orange kit lit up the ground almost as well as the new floodlights. There will be celebrations when the final is staged here in two weeks, but they will struggle to top the scenes of Friday night
"This result speaks for itself, doesn't it? It's a huge victory," said captain Jeroen Smits. "Without doubt, the biggest day in Dutch cricket history, and now we are looking to qualify for the Super Eights and maybe the semi-finals.
"I said to the boys in the dressing room we are going to do it today, play hard, play your shots, we have got nothing to lose. It's a massive boost for Dutch cricket, I'm really proud of the boys.
Smits was 12th man in 1989 when Netherlands beat an England XI that included Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart, but that victory had something to do about the night before. It's the Netherlands who will have the hangover this time when they wake up tomorrow morning after Smits said the team will spend their daily allowance on celebratory drinks.
"We beat England 1989 but last year when we played in the Belfast qualification tournament for this event I said to the guys I had a goal to play in the opening match of the World Twenty20 at Lord's," Smits said
Now there is a strong chance they will qualify for the Super Eights, even if they lose to Pakistan, which means some frantic phone calls to bosses back home. "We will all have to get more time away from work - it will cost us a lot of money - but I would love to take some days off."
It still rankles with Netherlands that they are no longer included in the English domestic one-day scene while Ireland and Scotland have held onto their spots. The flight from London to Amsterdam is shorter than the one from London to Dublin and Smits hopes this result will change the situation. "We deserve to play in the Friends Provident Trophy - I don't know any cricketing reasons why we are not in that competition."
Netherlands' key innings came from Tom de Grooth, who claimed the Man of the Match for his free-flowing 49 off 30 balls. "This is a dream," he said. "To be out there today in front of a full house was amazing. I was in the zone. We went out there to play brave cricket and make England sweat a bit."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
But you can't expect a turnaround unless pitches, umpiring and practice facilities are simultaneously improved