Roelof Erasmus van der Merwe
December 31, 1984, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Also Known As
Right hand Bat
Slow Left arm Orthodox
A tidy left-arm spinner and hard-hitting batter, Roelof van der Merwe is one of a small set of cricketers to have represented two international teams.
Van der Merwe played in the 2004 Under-19 World Cup for South Africa before he made his domestic debut in 2006 for Northerns. He first tasted success in franchise cricket with Titans in the 2007-08 season, when he topped the wicket-takers' chart in the MTN Domestic Championship, finished third in the Standard Bank Pro20 Series, and contributed handy runs in both tournaments. Titans won both titles and van der Merwe harvested a clutch of player-of-the-year titles. The following season, his 30 wickets were pivotal in the team retaining the MTN title.
He marked his T20I debut, against Australia in 2009 with a quickfire 48 and 1 for 30 and was named Player of the Match. He played 26 games, split evenly between ODIs and T20Is over a year, for South Africa before calling time on his international career with them. Between then and when he first turned out for Netherlands in 2015, having acquired a Dutch passport, he plied his trade as a T20 journeyman, with gigs in the IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils, and with Somerset in England's T20 Blast, while still appearing for Titans.
Van der Merwe got off to a brisk start in T20Is for Netherlands, taking two wickets apiece in each of his first four games, in 2015. In June 2019, he produced a breakneck 75 not out against Zimbabwe, and in the game after, took 4 for 35 - though Zimbabwe won that match in the eliminator after it was tied.
As he entered his late 30s, van der Merwe continued to ply his trade around the world, though primarily as a bowler as his batting became less consistent. At the T20 World Cup in 2022, playing for Netherlands, he took a stunning high catch off David Miller to help his side secure a famous victory - one which knocked his old team, South Africa, out of the tournament before the semi-finals.
His longevity was confirmed when, in early 2023, he finished the inaugural SA20 as the leading wicket-taker for champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape.
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