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Edwards, Van Der Merwe lead Netherlands to surprise win over South Africa

By Real11 - Oct 18 2023 197 Views
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Netherlands stun South Africa to blow CWC23' wide open

You don’t have the option to choose how you win a cricket match, despite how notable the outcome. The Dutch that know much. 

A first win in any format over the Proteas in last year’s T20 World Cup was affirmed when Anrich Nortje flayed the final ball of a mismanaged run chase to deep extra cover for four. It took nothing away from the triumph, but such achievements deserve screen time for the winners, not shots of a lonely ball on a futile journey into some forgettable advertising hoardings. 

Fortunately, their second over the same opponents- a maiden ODI World Cup victory against a Test playing nation- made amends. A sequence of air shots landing in a vacant region of the field indicated the men in orange might be due another non-highlightable high point.  Until Logan Van Beek banged one short to Keshav Maharaj, and Scott Edwards safely pouched the resulting catch. South Africa were bowled out for 207, chasing a target of 246. And Holland were, fittingly, the focus of attention. 

This dismissal will sit right up there with the replays of Ryan Ten Doeschate and Edgar Schiferli scurrying that second run after Stuard Broad missed a run out. Just like those two, Edwards and Van Beek have etched their names in history books. 

Their efforts make them all the more worthy of splitting that final money shot. Having missed the game against the Black caps due to a hamstring injury, Van Beek’s 3 for 60 was essentially a series of distinctly key moments.  The dangerous Heinrich Klassen was caught around the corner at deep fine leg attempting a pull shot, before a perfectly executed off cutter disturbed David Miller’s off stump- a moment where the Dutch realised they could pull off the unthinkable. 

Edwards was instrumental in instilling belief and fostering a sense of hope for his team. In a cricket match between South Africa and the Netherlands, South Africa won the toss and chose to bowl first. At the 21st over, with the scoreboard reading 82 for 5, the Netherlands' captain stepped onto the crease. He played a remarkable innings, scoring an unbeaten 78 runs and receiving crucial support from Roelof van der Merwe and Aryan Dutt, which helped the team reach a total of 245 for 8.

Edwards demonstrated exceptional leadership skills both on and off the field. His teammates regard him as someone worth following, and he has shown his ability to lead by example. Since becoming captain in 2022, he has maintained an impressive batting average of 48.12. Earlier this year, he guided the Dutch team through the qualifiers for the tournament, scoring 314 runs at an average of 62.80.

Despite his success as a captain, there were doubts about his ability to lead from the No. 7 batting position. However, he adapted to the situation and took on every role from opener to No. 8. In this particular match, he decided to bat at No. 7, which seemed like a waste of his talents. However, when the Netherlands found themselves five wickets down, it became apparent that Edwards had made the right decision all along.

Edwards played a calculated and composed innings, focusing on rescuing his team and showcasing their pride. He played several powerful sweeps, hitting seven boundaries to the leg side. His innings gained momentum when he sensed that South Africa was losing control. He played a Gilchrist-like shot, smashing a short-length delivery from Kagiso Rabada for six over square leg.

Edwards formed crucial partnerships with van der Merwe and Dutt, contributing to a total of 105 runs in the final nine overs. Despite his significant contributions, he humbly shared credit with his teammates, praising van der Merwe's striking and acknowledging Dutt's impressive sixes.

Edwards' strategic decisions on the field were equally important. Recognizing the need to adjust their game plan due to a rain delay and a reduced 43-over innings, he opted for seven overs of spin during the powerplay. This decision aimed to restrict the scoring of South African openers de Kock and Bavuma by slowing down the pace of the ball. The spin strategy proved effective, limiting South Africa to 39 runs and resulting in the dismissal of de Kock, caught by Edwards.

Throughout the match, Edwards demonstrated a keen understanding of the game's nuances, utilizing the variable bounce and adjusting field placements accordingly. His meticulous preparations, including notes stored in O'Dowd's pocket, gave the Dutch team a sense of control that they maintained throughout the match.

The Netherlands displayed discipline, both in their bowling and fielding, evident by conceding only eight extras compared to South Africa's 32. Edwards embodied these traits and showered praise on his teammates in subsequent media engagements.

Furthermore, Edwards achieved a personal milestone, taking three catches and surpassing the previous Dutch record of 48 ODI dismissals held by Jeroen Smits.

Overall, Edwards' leadership and performance not only led the Netherlands to their best victory in an ODI World Cup but also instilled confidence in the team to achieve further success in the competition and overcome formidable opponents.

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