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Feature

Logan van Beek brings West Indian flavour to take down West Indies

Grandson of former WI keeper Sammy Guillen hit every ball of the Super Over for a six or a four to win it for Netherlands

Deivarayan Muthu
27-Jun-2023
Logan van Beek could finally afford a smile at the end of it all, Netherlands vs West Indies, ICC World Cup Qualifier, Harare, June 26, 2023

Logan van Beek could finally afford a smile at the end of it all  •  ICC via Getty Images

When Logan van Beek flapped Alzarri Joseph to mid-on, with the scores tied on 374, it appeared like the Dutch dream had been crushed. But the game wasn't done yet.
Taking first strike in the Super Over, van Beek tonked every ball from Jason Holder to - or over - the boundary in a stunning sequence of 4,6,4,6,6,4. Agony for Holder and West Indies. Ecstasy for van Beek and Netherlands.
After van Beek jumped across his stumps, got a wide full toss within his reach and tugged it over the wide long-on fence, the entire Netherlands camp erupted in raucous cheers. They knew that van Beek was onto something. Shariz Ahmad, who wasn't part of the XI in this game, even leapt and punched his fist. Then, when van Beek pumped the fourth ball over the same region, it was Vivian Kingma's turn to jump up and celebrate.
But van Beek was in trance mode, as his captain Scott Edwards would put it after Netherlands felled West Indies.
The original plan from Holder was to bowl wide yorkers from around the wicket and deny van Beek easy access to the shorter leg-side boundary at the Takashinga Sports Club in Harare. It had worked, briefly, in regular time, but van Beek now messed with West Indies by moving around in his crease and bringing the shorter boundary within his swinging arc.
Holder had only marginally missed the wide yorker first ball, but van Beek got inside the line and shovelled it away between deep square leg and deep midwicket. Holder then switched to Plan B and bowled into the pitch, taking the ball away from around the wicket. The angle was fairly sharp from Holder, but van Beek anticipated the change in length and swatted the ball away between deep square and deep midwicket with his neurosurgeon-like hands. Holder then panicked, offering up a half-volley, which was pumped down the ground for six more.
Van Beek continued his big-hitting spree and then came on to bowl in the Super Over too. After having Johnson Charles and Shai Hope lose their shape, he sealed victory with the wickets of Charles and Romario Shepherd. It may well be the greatest ever performance by anyone in a 12-ball game.
Van Beek was emotional. His team-mates were worse. They had tears in their eyes. Netherlands were without a number of their first-choice players, including their entire bowling attack. They're all playing County cricket, which offers greater financial stability. But this team still managed to down West Indies, who were among the favourites to qualify for the ODI World Cup later this year in India.
"In the perfect world, all the Associate players would play for their countries every time," Ryan Campbell, who joined Durham ahead of this season after spending six years as Netherlands coach, had said in the lead-up to the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. "But the cold, hard facts of the day are that those Associate players can't make a living playing for their national teams, but they can in the County system. The facts are, as counties, we're their full-time employers. It's no disrespect to the Dutch, but their livelihoods come first."
Van Beek was lost for words after doing the unthinkable, but he still recognised that these were the moments that he as an Associate player lived for.
"I can't explain it at the moment," he said. "We wanted to do something special. Just to watch Scotty [Scott Edwards] and Teja [Nidamanaru] - the more they batted, the more we believed. [I] have been playing for 13-14 years now. [The] amount of matches I've lost in that situation... it's so satisfying to get one over the line. Tell you what, I'll wait 13-14 years to do it again.
"For me, it was about keeping my head still. If you miss, I'm going to hit it. I was disappointed with that last ball where I chunked it to mid-on. In my head, I said if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. Thankful I got a bit of redemption."
Fun fact: van Beek is the grandson of Sammy Guillen who played Test cricket for both West Indies and New Zealand. Van Beek was born and raised in Christchurch but holds a Dutch passport because his father is of Dutch descent. Van Beek was part of the New Zealand side in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup at home. He was their second-highest wicket-taker in that tournament with nine strikes in six matches at an average of 20.22 and economy rate of 4.66.
"I'm still Dutch, still West Indian and still Kiwi. I've got a mix of passports and heritage and yes, it is special to do it against the West Indies."
Logan van Beek
Then, in 2012, van Beek made his debut for Netherlands in the CB40 tournament but it wasn't until the 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh that he qualified as a local player for Netherlands. He still plays domestic cricket in New Zealand for Wellington alongside the likes of Devon Conway and Finn Allen.
"I'm still Dutch, still West Indian and still Kiwi," van Beek said. "I've got a mix of passports and heritage and yes, it is special to do it against the West Indies. My grandfather would be upstairs, kind of chuckling to himself and he would be pretty happy that I actually hit the ball over the boundary and not to a fielder. I'm super proud to play for the Dutch; they give me so many opportunities to play world tournaments. We're a team that is capable of doing magic moments and another one to the list."
Van Beek had first put Netherlands in the Super Sixes of the World Cup Qualifier with career-best figures of 4 for 24 against Nepal. His Super Over double act against West Indies has now drilled more belief into the camp.
"We're good enough to compete against the best teams in the world; we're just getting better," van Beek said. "The more we play the best teams, the better we get. And more fun we get, the more players we get, and we deserve to be on that level. I really hope the [ODI] Super League comes back and hope we get more fixtures and hope we can just play the best teams in the world as much as we can. The boys deserve it.
"Sri Lanka has had the wood over us a lot. So, we actually need to give them a bit of a payback and have some redemption. I've been on the other end of those losses and so, look, we're going to take this wave of momentum and run. We're going to go for it and give ourselves the best shot. Keep turning up. Keep turning up and you never know what can happen."
Netherlands had managed all of three victories in the now defunct Super League, but they've turned up in style in this Qualifier to secure three successive wins. A few more could put them on the flight to India for the ODI World Cup in October-November.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo