It was supposed to be the biggest tournament in ICC calendar this year. The start of the T20 World cup was not as glamorous and entertaining as the IPL was in South Africa but nevertheless after a few hiccups thanks to the weather, the tournament finally got underway and it couldn’t have got a more exciting match than the one we had between the hosts England and Netherlands.
Compared to the grand opening and closing ceremonies witnessed in the last two IPL’s the one today would have been over in the blink of an eye even had persistent drizzle not caused it to be all but scrapped. As it was, we had two speeches. ICC president David Morgan read out a few lines followed by the chief guest the Duke of Kent, who declared the tournament open. Both were greeted by a wave of indifference. It is strange that given the weather conditions in England the organizers had no plan B… The next alternative was Cricket. Finally the covers were off and the first toss of the tournament saw Netherlands winning the toss and deciding to field first, thinking that he would get something out of the pitch due to the wet conditions.
But the Netherlands bowlers couldn’t get anything right in the first 10 overs. Bopara and Luke Wright were superb in their shot selection and helped and in no time got England to 100 in just 11 overs. Having scored 90 runs in the first 10 England would have been backing themselves to reach the 200 mark but what followed was bewildering. Bopara got out 4 runs short of his 50 which slowed down the scoring rate drastically. They kept loosing wickets regularly and could only manage 71 runs in the last 10 and losing 5 wickets in the process.
At the end of the first innings both the sides would have been pretty happy but the bookies would have definitely put their money on England. The Netherlands innings got off to a very bad start as they lost their first wicket with 2 runs on the board. The pinch-hitting Darron Reekers managed to hit 2 huge sixes and got some momentum going for the Dutch. The batsmen were following the orders of their captain, Jeroen Smits, by swinging and seeing what they could do. But one shot too many resulted in the end of Reekers innings. The Dutch recovered and got to 50 within 6 overs which was good considering they were the minnows in this clash. Rashid got Zuiderent stumped and England would have been thinking that some breaks would be applied on their scoring rate but what followed shocked them and the viewers around the world. Man of the match Grooth and Borren continued playing their shots and good quality ones at that. Netherlands cruised to 100 in 11 overs and were on course to cause a major upset.
With just 62 runs needed of 53 balls both the batsmen played very sensibly taking the 1’s and 2’s. The match was slipping away from England and just then Collingwood struck removing the dangerous Grooth for 49 of just 30 balls. 2 more wickets went down which caused some tension in the Dutch camp. 7 runs were needed of the last over. Broad was the man with the most important over for England perhaps in this tournament. Thinking of Broad those 6 huge 6’s from Yuvraj keeps coming back to my mind. But these were different conditions and a different opposition. The first 2 balls resulted in 2 singles when Broad should have actually run out the batsmen both the times. It was only going to get worse for Broad when he dropped a catch of the 3rd ball which again got the Dutch a single. The Dutch snatched 2 runs of the next 2 balls which meant 2 runs were needed of the last ball. Broad once again had the chance to run out the batsmen but he couldn’t and what’s worse he didn’t manage to hit the stumps but gave an overthrow which saw the Dutch score a brilliant, outstanding upset here for the first match at Lord’s!
Post-mortem: Let’s look at what went wrong for England. Nothing went right for them except the first 10 overs of their batting. Only 62 runs of the last 10 overs meant that England were 20-30 runs short. By fielding a weakened team in anticipation of an easy win backfired. Not having Peiterson play was the biggest mistake. I don’t buy the argument of Collingwood that he was not fit. Obviously he is covering their overconfidence of winning the match. Even 162 should have been a very challenging target but the ease with which the Dutch won the match surprised everyone. The England fielding was dismal. They had about 8-10 run out chances with 3 in the final over itself. The conditions were wet but that can’t be an excuse for the home side. To be honest, the Dutch backed themselves and played their shots, took the risks which paid off tonight. It might not be the case every time but for now they can rejoice having beaten the host side. What gracious, accommodating, spare-no-blushes hosts England have turned out to be 🙂
Man of the Match: TN de Grooth