ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup

Another Upset? David Miller Said Otherwise

News June 10, 2024 admin

By Prateek Shewakramani
The sea of Dutch jerseys across the Nassau County Cricket Stadium on Saturday won’t be mistaken for a Euro 2024 match-up. Despite the team struggling on this hot day, their fans remain undeterred. The recent success against South Africa fuels their enthusiasm even while facing the formidable pace attack led by Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Amid all the buzz about the pitch and the anticipation for the India versus Pakistan clash, the sight of Dutch and South African flags waving from the stands showcases the resilience and presence of associate cricketing nations.

The United States’ dramatic victory over Pakistan, a David vs. Goliath contest that extended into a super over, has awakened the nation to cricket! Social media platforms were flooded with posts from Bleacher Report, ESPN, and other mainstream outlets, with many fans expressing surprise that the United States even had a cricket team. Meanwhile, the Netherlands has always been a plucky team to root for, especially after their upsets against South Africa. This spirit inspired cricket fans like Akhil Joshi and Ranvir Lakhani from Syosset, Long Island, to don their Netherlands soccer jerseys and support the team against South Africa, hoping for another World Cup upset. The cross-pollination of sports fandom, like that promoted by personalities such as Jimmy “JomBoy” O’Brien, is exactly what we need in America to foster the baseball-to-cricket transition. Joshi and Lakhani love Jomboy’s breakdowns and show them to their friends, encouraging baseball fans to give cricket a try.

David Miller
David Miller hit an unbeaten 59 in South Africa’s win against Netherlands. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

For cricket to grow and have a permanent stadium home in the United States, it needs nurturing from nations like the Netherlands and the United States as they stake their claim against cricket powerhouses like South Africa and Pakistan.

A late burst of runs by Dutch hitters Sybrand Engelbrecht and Logan Van Beek sparked cheers from the crowd as they dispelled any pitch demons by adding a 54-run partnership in just 44 deliveries, giving their bowlers and fans something to hope for in the second innings. However, following Engelbrecht’s dismissal, the Netherlands lost more wickets, finishing with a total of 103 in their twenty overs.

During the innings break, I walked around the East Grandstand of the stadium and met Pieter Rijnbeek and his family. Pieter, accompanied by his wife and two young boys, is visiting from the Netherlands. Despite battling jet lag with a crisp lager, he is thoroughly enjoying the match. Pieter is a leader of Quick Den Haag, a historic cricket and soccer club based in The Hague, Netherlands. He graciously shared stories about their trip, their club founded in 1896, its presence in cricket and his role there. Quick Den Haag has a rich football tradition with national championship wins and Pieter wants to have their cricket teams emulate that rich tradition of success. He was happy to share fun stories about his times batting and scoring runs for the club, and transitioning to a senior role there while continuing to foster an environment where the sport is encouraged, as seen with his two boys. Growing cricket in a country where soccer dominates and achieving grassroots buy-in is a challenge familiar to both the Netherlands and New York. Pieter and his family flew in on Friday and will head back on Tuesday to support their team against South Africa and show their young boys a World Cup match. Though they couldn’t get tickets for India vs. Pakistan, they are making the most of their trip, enjoying the match and all that New York City has to offer. Both kids are big Logan Van Beek fans and are thrilled by the stadium atmosphere. As if on cue from their cheering, Van Beek delivered a fiery thunderbolt, rattling the stumps and dismissing opener Reeza Hendricks, reducing South Africa to 3/2 inside 2 overs.

Dutch super fan Pieter and his family traveled thousands of miles to show their support. Photo by Prateek Shewakramani

Despite the low target, the Netherlands received an immediate boost with the runout of Quinton De Kock, South Africa’s destructive opener. Quick deliveries from Vivian Kingma and Logan Van Beek brought early wickets, making the target appear more defendable. Kingma, Van Beek, and Van Meekeren continued to trouble the new batsmen with pace and bounce, showing they weren’t afraid to challenge the South Africans after the first innings. A length ball took off on Heinrich Klaasen, who sent a low catch to the electric Tim Pringle in the outfield. Pringle, cheered by the crowd every time he fielded at midwicket or deep square leg, adjusted well to the low catch, sending South Africa reeling with four wickets down.

As he has done in World Cups and T20 leagues everywhere, David Miller emerged as South Africa’s savior. He deftly managed the pace attack of the Netherlands, building a 55-run partnership with the young Tristan Stubbs. His experience helped Stubbs calm down, rotate the strike, and push for doubles on what remains the slowest outfield in this World Cup. Their match-winning partnership was finally broken in the 17th over when Stubbs mistimed a length delivery from Bas De Leede, resulting in a high catch for Logan Van Beek. The dismissal brought tall Marco Jansen to the crease, who was cleaned up by Van Beek an over later as he tried to finish the game in one swing. Jansen’s dismissal for 3 runs brought the score to 88 for 6 wickets down, giving hope to the thousands of Dutch fans around the stadium. The players showed determination, reminiscent of their defense of 158 runs to win by 13 runs in the 2022 T20 World Cup. It was at this moment that the cool and collected David Miller took control, ensuring there wouldn’t be a repeat of that match.

With 16 runs needed from the last two overs, Logan Van Beek took the ball against David Miller for the 19th over. Miller, determined to avoid another upset, switched gears and attacked Van Beek from ball one, smashing a length ball for a long six over square leg, immediately deflating the enthusiastic crowd. Determined to keep the strike and finish the game himself, Miller lofted the ball for a boundary with a beautiful cover drive to bring up his fifty and hit what might have been the longest six on this ground yet over square leg, finishing the game and securing the win for South Africa. His match-winning innings brought the whole stadium to its feet in applause, as the last few games on these pitches had seemingly starved the crowd of glorious cricket shots like Miller’s.

In what was undoubtedly a successful outing for fans at the stadium, consistent matches between associate and test-playing nations will help drive more fans to the sport, so we’re not just relying on the seemingly annual India versus Pakistan matches.