Proteas wilt against Dutch as T20 World Cup hopes evaporate

Brandon Glover and team his Netherlands teammates celebrate the wicket of Rilee Rossouw. Photo: Matt Turner/EPA

Brandon Glover and team his Netherlands teammates celebrate the wicket of Rilee Rossouw. Photo: Matt Turner/EPA

Published Nov 6, 2022


Johannesburg - South Africa’s World Cup hopes evaporated in a mess of bad bowling and tentative batting that brought an inglorious conclusion to the Mark Boucher coaching era.

Call it whatever you like, but when the moment demanded South Africa produce just a proficient performance, their standards fell off a cliff, and another ICC tournament was consigned to the dustbin.

The Dutch deserve plenty of credit. They outbowled South Africa, not something anyone would have predicted given the experience and class in the Proteas attack. However Kagiso Rabada struggled again, and folded under early attack from Stephan Myburgh, who hit him for three boundaries in his first over.

That was one key difference between the sides; the Dutch hit 20 boundaries in their innings - seven of those coming off Rabada’s bowling - while the Proteas managed just 12. It was a clear illustration of the intent of the two sides. Sure the pitch at the Adelaide Oval got slower in the second innings, but the Dutch targeted the stumps more, while South Africa, with the exception of Anrich Nortje, battled with their lengths and bowled too short and when they tried to adjust, the fuller lengths were just too easily hittable.

Thanks to Nortje, who finished with 1/10 from his four overs, South Africa managed to gain some control of the Dutch innings but then Rabada and Wayne Parnell conceded 31 runs off the last two overs, three of those boundaries off Rabada’s bowling the result of some innovative strokeplay from the Dutch captain Scott Edwards, while Colin Ackerman - a former teammate of Parnell’s at the Warriors - smashed the left-arm seamer for two sixes in the final over.

The early wicket of Quinton de Kock gave the Dutch a lift in the field, and before the power play was completed the Proteas had also lost skipper Temba Bavuma for a run-a-ball 20.

Boundaries were hard to come by, with the Dutch cleverly bowling into the surface and mixing up their pace not allowing the South African batters room to free their arms. Wickets fell at regular intervals after the power play as the pressure built.

The crucial moment arrived in the 16th over, when with 47 runs needed to win off 29 balls, David Miller top edged Brandon Glover towards short fine leg where Roelof van der Merwe, sprinted back, dived and took a catch centimetres off the ground as the ball dropped over his shoulder. His celebrations were as enthusiastic as ever, the Dutch went wild as did the Pakistani and Bangladeshi fans who had started gathering in the stands ahead of their teams’ match later - which is now a virtual quarter-final.

The rest of the Proteas wilted. Another ICC tournament has come and gone, and yet again South Africa has found a way to exit it even with, on this occasion, circumstances seemingly being in their favour.

“It wasn’t good enough,” said skipper Bavuma. That’s an understatement.