In the most dramatic fashion—even bizarre —the Netherlands progressed to the main draw. Requiring an improbable 190 in 14.2 overs against Ireland, they managed to surpass the equation in 13.5 overs, stalking the hopes of both Zimbabwe and Irish.
It was a further validation of the indispensability of the associate nation in a global event. Cricket needs them, for more reasons than one, for its base expansion and global game projection, that at a time when the ICC is deliberating on the possible reduction of their numbers so as not to dilute the competence-level of the event.
The backdrop to their World Cup wasn’t any convincing. It was disastrous in fact. For, post the surprise heist over England in the 2009 World Cup, they have done trifle little to suffuse optimism. They lost all six games in the 2011 ODI World Cup. Consequently, their ODI status, too, was revoked in February this year.
It only got worse, as Zimbabwe clung onto a thriller to jolt their main-draw aspiration. They seemed headed for further humiliation as Ireland clobbered 189 in 20 overs. It seemed beyond their reach, before they riposted as magically as one could imagine. There are few such parallels in the game.
Powering them to the main draw was Stephan Myburgh, the South African-born all-rounder, who struck 63 off only 29 balls, the second fastest half-century in T20 internationals. Like Stephen, most of them are from diverse backgrounds. Wicketkeeper Wesley Barresi is South African by birth, Tom Cooper is a New South Welshman, opener Michael Swart was bred in Perth and has played competitive cricket for Western Australia. Mudassar Bukhari was born in Pakistan, and hence it’s not surprising that he chose to bowl fast.
But the differences in roots and nationalities hardly matter for them. “Dealing with it (diversity) is not a problem, we are all representing Holland. Everyone knows each other pretty well. We enjoy having people from different places and different cultures,” observed skipper Peter Borren.