Almost a year after their T20 World Cup surprise victory, South Africa suffered a stunning defeat to the inspired Dutch bowling.

In the picturesque setting of Dharamsala, the turn of events left everyone bewildered. South Africa, a cricketing heavyweight, faced off against the Netherlands, an associate nation.

Just three months ago, after securing a spot in the World Cup, Netherlands coach Ryan Cook passionately sought sponsorship and warm-up matches in India. When they arrived, Netherlands had to search for net bowlers, with ten thousand applicants vying for the opportunity, including a food delivery worker.

The analogy of ‘David and Goliath’ feels too commonplace to describe this scenario. Nevertheless, the 17th of October will forever be etched in memory as the day the Netherlands defeated South Africa at an ODI World Cup.

This wasn’t uncharted territory for the Dutch, as they had previously stunned South Africa at Adelaide in the T20 World Cup last November. However, this format was considered too complex for South Africa to be outplayed. Rain shortened the match to 43 overs per side and added intrigue to the pitch.

Opting to bowl first, South Africa made early breakthroughs. But the Netherlands, led by captain Scott Edwards, displayed resilience, with Edwards crafting an unbeaten 78 to elevate his team from 140/7 to 245/8, supported by contributions from Roelof van der Merwe and Aryan Dutt. However, when it was their turn to bowl, van der Merwe, playing against his country of birth, dismantled Temba Bavuma’s stumps after Quinton de Kock’s catch was taken off a top edge. Two more quick wickets in the form of Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen saw South Africa slump to 44/4.

Heinrich Klaasen fought for a run-a-ball 28 and formed a stabilizing partnership of 45 runs with David Miller until he was caught at fine-leg after pulling Logan van Beek straight and flat. Although a challenging catch off Miller was dropped by Bas de Leede in the 24th over, it didn’t affect the Dutch cause significantly, as van Beek bowled Miller with a length delivery that clipped the top of his off-stump.

With more than a hundred runs required, Miller’s shot selection became more aggressive. South Africa’s pursuit of a dominant victory led to a series of senseless shots, including expansive cover drives, sweeps, and reverse sweeps, which ultimately led to their downfall.

Ironically, South Africa had control of the match by the 34th over of the Netherlands’ innings. The scoreboard displayed a score of 140/7, and the Dutch were left with only Edwards and three lower-order batsmen.

However, two small but crucial partnerships breathed new life into the Netherlands’ innings. South Africa began to falter as wides were conceded (21 of them), catches were dropped, and the bowling lines became inconsistent.

Edwards displayed his aggression, repeatedly sweeping Keshav Maharaj through backward square-leg. Maharaj’s attempts to lure him with tossed-up deliveries only played into Edwards’ hands. South Africa’s frustration grew as they couldn’t dismiss Edwards early, leading to a wasted review.

Maharaj eventually dismissed Logan van Beek, breaking his resistance, but van der Merwe and Aryan Dutt continued to exploit South Africa’s weaknesses by targeting the gaps in the field.

This remarkable turnaround will be etched in the Dutch cricketing history, while South Africa will likely remember this day for quite some time.

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