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Dutch hope to exploit inside knowledge to stun South Africa again

Netherlands' Sybrand Engelbrecht takes part in a practice session on the eve of their Cricket World Cup match against South Africa

Netherlands' Sybrand Engelbrecht takes part in a practice session on the eve of their Cricket World Cup match against South Africa. Photo: Money Sharma/AFP

Published Oct 16, 2023


With five South African-born players in his squad, Netherlands coach Ryan Cook believes having the inside track on their rivals could spark another Cricket World Cup humiliation for the Proteas on Tuesday.

The Dutch famously defeated Temba Bavuma's side at the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia last year with South Africa-born Colin Ackermann hitting a match-winning 41.

Johannesburg native Roelof van der Merwe, one of only 16 men to have played international cricket for two countries, then took a spectacular running catch to send back dangerman David Miller.

"We know a lot of the players personally and professionally as well," said Dutch coach Cook who also hails from South Africa.

"We have done a lot of work with them in different teams that we've been involved in so we get to know a little bit more about the players and what makes them tick.

"Obviously we'll be using that to try and see if there's any advantage that we can use."

Van der Merwe, now 38, appeared in 13 ODIs for South Africa between 2009 and 2010, playing alongside the likes of Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers before switching allegiance to the Dutch in 2019.

"I think Roelof's energy out there speaks for itself," said Cook.

"He's got a great passion for the game, he obviously gives his full hundred percent and wears his heart on his sleeve for the team that he's playing for.

"I have no doubt that he'll be out there tomorrow and putting his best foot forward and giving 100% to the team."

The Dutch are the lowest-ranked side at the 10-nation World Cup.

They have lost both matches so far to Pakistan and New Zealand.

They had Pakistan struggling at 38-3 at one stage before they went on to lose by 81 runs.

In the game with New Zealand, they fell short by 99 runs.

"I think the 50-over format is something that we try and pride ourselves on," added Cook.

"It's a game that we play a lot of, we don't get to play any Test cricket or anything like that. So, we play a lot of 50-over cricket and we understand the consistency that needs to come with playing good 50-over cricket for long periods of time."

He added: "Obviously South Africa have a really good one-day side as well and a T20 team and we just know that if we can go and play good cricket there tomorrow for a long period, we will be able to be competitive."