No Dutch delight as South Africa romp to a 146-run win

Photo: South African Cricket

South Africa 370 for 8 (Markram 175, Klaasen 2-43) beat the Netherlands 224 (Musa 61, Magala 5-43) by 146 runs

Lightning doesn’t strike twice. South Africa on Sunday saw to it that the Netherlands wouldn’t be in their way of a crucial World Cup spot with a resounding 146-run win in Johannesburg to seal the series 2-0.

Having denied the South Africans a place in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup in Australia in November last year, the Dutch sealed a historic win but to beat a full-strength side in an ODI series in their own backyard was always going to be a tall order.

Aiden Markram delivered a masterclass in power-hitting with a 175-run knock and David Miller bludgeoned his way to 91. The duo shared a 199-run partnership to rescue the side from 145-4 to post 370-8.

The Dutch, in response, fought valiantly as Musa Ahmad top-scored with 61, his maiden international half-century, and with contributions from Max O’Dowd (47) and Scott Edwards (42) but were eventually bowled out for 224 in the 40th over.

South Africa go big

For the hosts, if the opportunity to finish eighth in the Super League and book a direct berth for this year’s fifty-over World Cup – only Ireland’s 3-0 sweep of Bangladesh in May can deny them a spot – wasn’t enough, there was the added incentive to raise funds for breast cancer awareness by hitting as many boundaries as possible.

‘As players we will look to hit more fours and sixes and raise as much funds as we can,’ South African skipper Bavuma declared his intentions at the toss dressed in his pink kit. The Netherlands, too, joined the cause by donning a pink cap atop their orange jersey.

Markram did his bit by crashing 17 fours and seven sixes and at one point South Africa seemed set to breach the 400-run mark but Fred Klaassen’s miserly spell of 2-43 and Paul van Meekeren’s two wickets held back the assault.

Vivian Kingma, who replaced Ryan Klein in the XI, overcame a difficult start when he bowled as many as four no-balls to reduce the hosts to 32-2 by dismissing Quinton de Kock and Bavuma early.

In contrast, the Dutch lost Vikramjit Singh early but O’Dowd and Ahmad put on an 85-run stand for the second wicket. Ahmad batted with a phlegmatic approach to hit seven fours and three sixes but once he perished, Edwards kept the chase alive with a 33-ball 42.

Seven runs

But Sisanda Magala’s maiden five-wicket haul precipitated a collapse as the Dutch lost their last five wickets for a mere seven runs.

The Dutch are next in action at the ten-team World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in June and will need to produce a top-two finish to qualify for the showpiece event in India.

‘We can take a lot of confidence from how we have competed against a lot of these teams,’ Edwards told a press conference. ‘We were playing in Zimbabwe a couple of weeks ago which will be similar conditions (to the Qualifiers). It’s going to be a tough tournament but I think our team is in a pretty good place for it.’

An uncertain future

With the Super League scrapped after the current cycle, the Dutch will have no guaranteed fixtures apart from the T20 World Cup and a three-match T20I series against Pakistan next year.

‘I thought it (the Super League) was a great initiative to bridge the gap between the top 12 nations and the next tier down. It’s disappointing that it’s not going ahead but hopefully there’s more games for us around the corner. We obviously have a young squad so the more games we play, the better we will be.’

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