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Brandon Glover and the old South African gang outplay South Africa

Glover was one among a quartet of players with South African backgrounds who put in key showings to lift Netherlands to a famous win

Deivarayan Muthu
06-Nov-2022
There is a strong South African flavour in Netherlands' squad. Stephan Myburgh had started his career at Northerns along with Neil Wagner; Colin Ackermann first made his name as a red-ball batter at Eastern Province; Roelof van der Merwe played for South Africa Under-19s as well as the senior team in T20 World Cups before acquiring a Dutch passport and forging a new career in Netherlands.
Then there's Brandon Glover, who was born in Johannesburg, went to St Stithians college, and also played for South Africa Under-19s. This quartet combined spectacularly to KO their country of birth at the 2022 Men's T20 World Cup, and help Netherlands finish No. 4 in the group (as results later in the day confirmed) to qualify directly for the 2024 edition.*
Myburg cracked seven fours in the powerplay and was responsible for 34 of the 48 runs Netherlands had scored in the first six overs. Ackermann provided the finishing kick, hitting an unbeaten 41 off 26 balls - 21 of which came in the last two overs of the innings. Van der Merwe, for his part, sprinted back from short fine leg and tracked down a skier, as if his life depended on it, to dismiss the dangerous David Miller for a run-a-ball 17. It is a bona fide contender for the catch of the tournament, but it was Glover who made the biggest impact on the day.
Glover sussed out the conditions early - the Adelaide pitch was fairly two-paced and offering some grip - and bowled a slower legcutter third ball to hoodwink Rilee Rossouw in the tenth over. Then, when he returned to the attack for the 16th, he dug an on-pace short ball into the pitch and drew a top edge from Miller, with van der Merwe completing that sensational catch. Two legal balls later, Glover hid one away from Wayne Parnell's swinging arc and scratched his outside edge. South Africa were 113 for 6 in the 16th over in their pursuit of 159. Game over and tournament over for them.
Glover had first caught the attention of Ryan Campbell, the then-head coach of Netherlands, in 2019. Netherlands were training in South Africa for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers and Campbell was so impressed with him that he convinced him to move to the Netherlands and use his Dutch passport, via his mother, to start a career there.
"There is a strong South African influence in our team," Glover said at the post-match press conference. "All with Dutch heritage obviously, but yeah we chose a different path for various reasons and it's paying off for all of us. We are happy with it and it's always special to play against South Africa; always nice to stand out there with them... We love South Africa and all that stuff but obviously we dedicate it to the Dutch and we've been working extremely hard for this team. It's been good to see things have been paying off now."
The shift to Netherlands, in fact, immediately paid off for Glover, who emerged as the joint-highest wicket-taker in T20I cricket in 2019, with 28 strikes in 16 matches at an economy rate of 6.50. Glover, however, got just two games in the 2021 Men's T20 World Cup in the UAE and there was no room for him in Netherlands' XI in the early exchanges of this tournament. He finally got his chance against Pakistan on a typically bouncy Perth pitch and has since made telling contributions with the ball.
"Obviously, I was disappointed not to play, especially in the qualifying stages," Glover said. "But you have to back the captain and back the coach. They made the right decisions and we got there; it was all combinations and stuff. So, I was just tearing at the bit to play. I was just working hard in the nets and to finally get my chance against Pakistan, I thought: 'Well, I'm not letting this go now and going to keep hammering away'. Fortunately, I took my opportunity and it was special for me because it shows hard work pays off. Obviously, I was raring to go the whole time. Very happy with how I've gone, and yeah, just nice to be back in the side."
Having felled Zimbabwe and South Africa in the Super 12s, and having challenged other oppositions throughout the tournament, Netherlands now believe that they can cut it against the top teams in international cricket.
"We were just waiting for that complete performance," Glover said. "There was always something that was missing [earlier] - the batting [or] bowling and we didn't quite bring it together. I feel the last two performances we just came together better as a team, and we knew exactly what to do.
"We've been working extremely hard on the background as well. I think the whole team just finally gelling and us playing our best form of cricket shows that we're up there and we can compete with the best in the world, and we've done that. But incredibly happy for the team - we've come together really nicely. We just needed to get that complete performance, which I feel like we've done."
This T20 World Cup marks the end of Campbell's stint at Netherlands, and Glover also suggested that Sunday's match might have been Myburgh's last for the team, but Glover's own rise promises new beginnings for Netherlands.
*The piece was updated after Netherlands' qualification was confirmed by Bangladesh and Zimbabwe's losses on Sunday.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo