West Indies’ hopes of qualifying for the Cricket World Cup are hanging by a thread after losing one of the most remarkable ODI games ever played against Netherlands in Harare in a madcap, Super Over finish.
After being set 375 to win, Netherlands looked out of the game, with a team high score of 315 coming into the game. A stunning hundred from Teja Nidamanuru kept them in the hunt, but when he fell, their hopes faded again. What followed was extraordinary. Logan van Beek, batting at No.8, smashed 28 off 14 before falling with a single needed off the last ball. With the game headed to a Super Over, Netherlands took the inspired move of sending him out again. Full of form and confidence, he smashed 30 off Jason Holder’s six balls, before taking 2-8 to seal an incredible win.
Returning to the start of the contest, West Indies came into the game reeling after defeat by Zimbabwe, and needing not just a win, but a big win to get their Cricket World Cup Qualifier campaign back on track. Their batters laid the perfect platform, with Johnson Charles and Brandon King putting on a century opening stand, Shai Hope, at No.4, turbocharging the innings with a 38-ball 47, and Keemo Paul supplying the late touches with 46 off 25. But the star was Nicholas Pooran, who blitzed a 63-ball hundred, bringing up the milestone in the penultimate over.
In reply, Netherlands’ top four all made starts, but with wickets falling regularly, West Indies were well ahead. Netherlands managed 71-0 inside the powerplay but lost Max O’Dowd soon after. Vikramjit Singh then fell, and Bas de Leede and Wesley Barresi opted to regroup. But when the former fell in the 30th over, Netherlands were still more than 200 runs from their target.
Nidamanuru and Scott Edwards then staged a stunning turnaround, putting on 143 for the fifth wicket in 15 overs, and hauling Netherlands back into the contest. Nidamanuru’s acceleration stood out, with a 40-ball fifty converted into a 68-ball century. This was his second breathtaking knock of the year, with his maiden ODI century gunning down an improbable, last-ball chase against Zimbabwe in March.
This time however, it looked as if victory might be a step too far. He and Saqib Zulfiqar each fell in the 46th over to leave Netherlands chasing the game again. With three overs left, they needed 42 runs. Aryan Dutt hit four and they scampered eight from the remainder of the over, but 30 from two looked out of reach. From there, it was the van Beek show. He smashed 14 in three Roston Chase balls to bring the match back into the balance. Dutt then drilled the last ball of the over for four.
All of a sudden, nine were needed off the last, which became five from five as van Beek creamed through extra cover. Then the game tightened up. Netherlands ran a single. Dutt sliced to long-off. No.10 Clayton Floyd, with a groin injury, somehow sprinted a bye. Van Beek sprinted back for a second, with an umpire review needed to confirm there was no short run. With a single needed off the last, Jason Holder flew, clinging onto a stunner at mid-on. Again, there was an umpire review, this time for a front-foot no ball. Again, it was deemed to be legal – just.
A rulebook scramble followed, with a Super Over in operation for the competition. Would Netherlands let Nidamanuru, fresh off a century, take strike? Or one of the openers who had got them off to a flier? No, they sent out van Beek, with an ODI high score of 32. Facing him would be Holder, who had denied him in the field in normal time.
It proved a masterstroke, as van Beek went four, six, four, six, six, four. West Indies were in disbelief. Netherlands were in dreamland, but there was still work to do with the ball. And who else to do it but van Beek? He bounced back from a six off the first ball to concede two singles, take two wickets, and seal the game in style.
The result has significant ramifications for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier. West Indies will now carry no points into the Super Sixes stage – even three wins against Sri Lanka, Scotland and Oman might not be enough to see them make this October’s World Cup. However, they may take heart from the fact that Afghanistan recovered from a similar position to qualify in 2018.
For Netherlands, the 13th team in the Cricket World Cup Super League, it leaves them daring to dream of the promised land.