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Cricket World Cup 2023: Netherlands shock South Africa for ‘iconic’ win that will ‘make the front page’

Under dark skies, the famous Himalayan backdrop barely visible, the Dharamsala outfield became a sea of orange in the midst of Dutch joy.

It was a famous 38-run victory over World Cup contenders South Africa that sparked chaotic celebrations from the Netherlands underdogs as Logan van Beek took the winning wicket.

The eruption was certainly justified: their first win of this year’s tournament, the country’s first win over a Test-playing nation in a 50-over World Cup and just their third win of all time in the competition.

“It is the most iconic and memorable win for Dutch cricket,” their former all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate told BBC Test Match Special in the post-match delirium.

The Netherlands had only ever beaten fellow Associate nations Scotland and Namibia in 50-over World Cups, where 14 teams were involved, so to demolish the previously unbeaten Proteas was a dramatic upset.

The result may not change too much in the long-term standings, with South Africa still holding a top-four spot and the Netherlands still near the bottom, but that will not dampen their spirits or change the significance of the occasion.

‘This will make the front page’

The Netherlands also shocked South Africa at last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia – knocking them out and securing eighth place to qualify for the 2024 tournament in the West Indies and the USA.

This time around, they were 82-5 and 140-7 after being put into bat by South Africa. Another shock looked a distant dream. The Netherlands’ World Cup campaign hung by a thread.

But Roelof van der Merwe and captain Scott Edwards shared 64 for the eighth wicket, before Edwards and Aryan Dutt added 41 off the final three overs to propel their side to a competitive score.

South Africa were then 44-4 after 11.2 overs and the Dutch kept chipping away to secure the win.

Their coach at that T20 World Cup, Ryan Campbell, was part of the Test Match Special team on Tuesday and said: “A win at a World Cup is amazing. The fact that they are winning a 50-over game in a 10-team World Cup, not a 14-team one, is a massive performance.

“This is why you need the little guys at the World Cup. This is what puts cricket on the map.

“This will make the front page of the Dutch papers, which never happens. It will promote the game and it will be an inspiration to the Scotlands, Irelands and Namibias, who are waiting and trying to be like the Dutch.

“These players will forever and a day talk about the day they beat South Africa at a World Cup.”

All-rounder Ten Doeschate was part of the 2009 Dutch team who beat England in the T20 World Cup, but he said this win is “the Netherlands’ best achievement by far”.

“I am very proud,” he added. “This is a fantastic moment for Dutch cricket.

“This is a clinical performance, a well-thought-out performance. There have been some heroic individual performances.”

‘We are here to win games of cricket’

The Netherlands had to come through a 10-team qualifying tournament in the summer to be in India.

The tournament included two-time winners West Indies, who failed to qualify for the first time, Scotland, Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The Dutch lost to Sri Lanka in the final but qualified by virtue of progressing that far.

“I’m proud of the group,” said captain Edwards.

“After qualifying we were pretty quick to set our minds to what we wanted to achieve from this tournament.

“We weren’t coming here just to have fun. We are here to win games of cricket and give ourselves the best chance of getting to the next stage.

“Obviously South Africa are probably one of the favourites the way they are playing, so it is a big win for us. It is a massive boost for us.

“I’m sure there are plenty of fans staying up and watching the game. There is always a lot of support around. We are extremely grateful for all the support we have had and hopefully we have got a few messages from them.”

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