There could not have been a better illustration of the merit of having Associate member nations as participants in cricket's global trophy than what the Netherland achieved yesterday against Ireland. The Qualifying Group B was supposedly to be a two-horse race between Ireland -- the best team among the Associates -- and Zimbabwe, the only Test team in the group. But Stephan Myburgh and Tom Cooper pulled off the mother of all Houdini acts as the Dutch exploded the form book and took its rightful place in Group 1 of the Super 10s at the Sylhet Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Netherlands skipper Peter Borren revealed the mindset that makes participation of the lesser fancied teams so valuable when he attempted to explain the magic that his team conjured in the match. "We didn't have much to lose and we were not happy with our bowling. The Irish boys did pretty well to score 190. We had plenty of guys who could hit well, and it all came off today," said Borren, who himself hit a 15-ball 31 at the top of the order.
"I got out there and had a little bit of go, but it was Myburgh who set the scene. I am not really sure if I have seen cleaner hitting," said Borren. Netherlands hit 19 sixes in their chase of 190, which they had to do in 14.2 overs to progress, but managed to do it in 13.5. Their tally is a record for a single innings, and the total of 30 for the match is also a record high in the format. "In 2009 we beat England and that was a pretty special night. But I told the boys 2009 was five years ago and it was time to create a new memory. I will go back and sing the team song with the rest."
But the man of the moment was Myburgh, who in the second over hit three consecutive sixes after his captain hit one off the first ball to deliver notice that the Dutch were here to stay.
"It looked calm [hitting], but it wasn't very calm," said Myburgh, who scored a 23-ball 63 with seven sixes and four fours, at the presentation ceremony.