England took us too lightly - Borren
The morning after the greatest night in the history of Dutch cricket, one of the stars of Netherlands' sensational final-ball victory at Lord's has accused the vanquished England team of arrogance and complacency.
The allrounder Peter Borren, who claimed the wicket of Eoin Morgan before chipping in with a vital 30 from 25 balls in the run-chase, said England's non-selection of Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas left the Dutch with no reason to fear failure as they went out to demonstrate to their opponents that they too could play cricket.
"Before the match we talked about the fact that we thought England were vulnerable, and we believed we had a chance, but I'm not sure if anyone really believed we could do this," Borren told Cricinfo. "We went down to breakfast this morning and everyone's still smiling. It simply doesn't get better than this. To be sitting in the changing room, the Lord's dressing room, having beaten England… it's just fantastic."
On a night to remember, Netherlands' self-belief was astounding. Twice they fought back from invidious positions: first, when Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright cruised to a century partnership in the first 11 overs of England's innings and second, when Alexei Kervezee was dismissed for 1 in the first over of the Dutch reply. But Borren and his team-mates were in no mood to capitulate, and afterwards England's captain, Paul Collingwood, confessed his surprise at the tenacity of his opponents.
Borren, however, was unimpressed by England's attitude. "If I'm being honest, I thought England had a bit of a shocker," he said. "They've taken us too lightly. To sit there after the game and say they were surprised we played so well… well, we can play cricket as well. Then there was their selection, and the way they batted after being 100 for none. It's as if they walked in at half-time thinking they'd got the game sewn up. They took us too lightly and it's cost them."
England's selection played straight into Netherlands' hands and Borren wasn't shy of reminding them of their errors. "Leaving out Pietersen was a classic example and it's come back to bite them, hasn't it, because now they are in deep trouble. Graeme Swann probably could have played too but they've given Rashid a go, and for us, for Holland, we look at that team they put out, and think we're not actually that scared of these guys."
England's lack of menace was exemplified by their extraordinary boundary count. "It's a credit to our bowlers that they didn't hit a six in their innings," Borren said. "Bopara and Wright played beautifully but they didn't hit one out of the ground. As a rule, if you hit four sixes in your innings and the other team hits none, you're going to win more than you lose."
Borren was especially scathing about the selection of Robert Key for his first international appearance for four years, ahead of a man well known for his aerial exploits. "When Key walked out to bat [at No. 6]… if Mascarenhas had come in then, we might suddenly have gone, oh shit, they might hit a few out of the ground. It was a strange performance from England, and fantastic for us."
If England began the match with complacency, it soon turned to timidity as the Netherlands batsmen kept coming at them with wave after wave of aggression. "I think our batting attitude was quite crucial," Borren said. "In Twenty20s, if you lose a wicket you lose your momentum. A lot of the time, a new batsman comes out and takes three or four balls to get going, and if he then gets out you're in trouble.
"But pretty much every single one of our batsmen who came in banged a four in their first few balls. That was the key, we came out with intent. We had nothing to lose and showed we can play a bit of cricket."
England, on the other hand, faltered at a vital moment of the match, as they slipped from a formidable 100 for 0 after 11 overs to a disappointing 162 for 5 after 20. "Our bowlers did a good job to pull the innings back, and walking into the dressing room at half-time, with that momentum, we were very positive," Borren said. "It doesn't really matter how many wickets in hand they had, if you get wickets frequently, it gets a new batsman in, and with a few tight balls you can put them under pressure.
"We ended up escaping," he added. "If, say, Dirk Nannes had got three or four up front, but England had recovered from 40 for 4 to 160, then it would have been a different story going in. But Twenty20 is a funny format, when you've got a little momentum, a team can be hard to stop. We were on a high, we loved every minute of it, and everyone was realistic that we'd done a good job in dragging it back and showing some character."
Despite the euphoria of the victory, Borren remained realistic about the impact that such a moment would have on Dutch cricket. His role as a national youth coach was, he admitted, "a lot of fun but quite frustrating" because of the singular lack of a cricket culture in the country. "I'm sure this will get some publicity in Holland, but I'm not sure how much," he said, "because a lot of people don't know what cricket is. It's just that silly sport that England play."
Nevertheless, the brevity of the format and breeziness of the performance will no doubt win over one or two new fans who would never before have contemplated watching a full game of cricket. And to that end, Borren admitted that there was "no comparison whatsoever" between the atmosphere the team enjoyed on Friday night and the stultifying environment of their last big outing on the world stage, the 2007 World Cup campaign in St Kitts.
Grouped together with Scotland, Australia and South Africa, the most notable Dutch achievement on that trip was Dan van Bunge's ignominious entry in the record books, as the first bowler to be hit for six sixes in international cricket. "This tournament is miles, miles better," Borren said. "We played in St Kitts in front of 300 people on a postage stamp of a ground. There's no comparison.
"It wasn't great to be remembered for six sixes, but at least we've wiped that," he added. "This will never be forgotten. This is the greatest day for any of us. As we were saying last night, it doesn't matter if we never score another run again. If we can't play another game of cricket, we will always have beaten England at Lord's. It's magnificent."
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo