SA’s Dutch 'nightmare'

2011-03-02 13:29

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – If you choose to look at it harshly, South Africa’s ugly cricket defeat to the Netherlands at The Hague in 1994 will go down as one of the most ignominious moments in the country’s sporting history.

Fortunately it is not something likely to play on the minds of the modern-day Proteas, gearing up for their second Group B fixture in the 2011 World Cup against those foes at Mohali on Thursday (06:00 SA time).

There were a fair number of mitigating factors, you see, when the national side of 1994 ended their lengthy tour of England with a short stopover – perhaps that should read hangover -- in Holland on September 4.

For starters, the match was an unofficial international against a cosmopolitan “Netherlands XI” which featured players like West Indian-born Nolan Clarke, veteran former Sri Lankan rebel all-rounder Flavian Aponso (he had taken part in the controversial Arosa Sri Lanka tour of then-apartheid South Africa in 1982/83) and one or two Australian journeymen.

It was also artificially agreed that South Africa would bat first because (ironically, considering the unexpected procession that would occur not long afterwards), Dutch officials were nervous about the game potentially being over too quickly!

Certainly the tourists slumping to 87 for seven and finally 134 for eight off their allotted 40 overs, in a rain-curtailed affair, was not in the intended script.

Hansie Cronje was captain in the absence of injured Kepler Wessels, whilst coach Mike Procter also did not make the trip across the Channel.

The Proteas were still relative newcomers from isolation, and many of their ranks thus not used to marathon tours abroad and probably homesick – they had been in England since late June for a three-Test series and many county games, and had lost the final Test at The Oval for a 1-1 outcome, mainly thanks to Devon Malcolm’s famous nine for 57 carnage in the South African second knock.

South Africa were quickly on the ropes on a matting surface at The Hague, losing the cream of their batting for startlingly low returns: for example, current national selection chief Andrew Hudson got a duck, Gary Kirsten nine and Peter Kirsten three.

And they never got back into the match – the Dutch blazed to their target for the loss of just one wicket, Peter Kirsten’s occasional off-spin accounting for big-hitting Clarke for 78.

Craig Matthews, the former SA seamer and also national selector, doesn’t even remember that he had helped wicketkeeper Dave Richardson drag the South African score from below 100 to something a little more respectable with his tail-end 16 not out.

“I suppose you try to block a game like that out of your mind,” he told Sport24 on Wednesday.

“No excuses – obviously we should have won comfortably. But a certain amount of (fatigue) and complacency would have crept in by that stage of the tour.

“I do recall that when Fanie de Villiers opened the attack for us he bowled a bouncer first-up and the opener said something like ‘hey, you can’t do that’, suggesting that short stuff was supposedly not allowed ... it was that kind of artificial occasion.”

Matthews, Proteas fans will be relieved to hear, expects no such shocks when the Proteas play a game of rather greater gravitas against the Netherlands on Thursday.

“I still have certain doubts about this South African team, but I really don’t expect any problems for them tomorrow(Thursday).”

There have been two official ODIs between the countries subsequent to the 1994 “friendly”, and South Africa have won fairly effortlessly each time – by 160 runs in 1996 and then by 221 runs in the last encounter at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.


  • semloh - 2011-03-02 13:38

    That was 17 years ago on a matt wicket, hardly worth a mention in relation to current World Cup tournament.

  • Dal2000 - 2011-03-02 14:03

    Whateeeeeeeeeeeeeeeverrrrrrrrrrrr.... fail article.

  • Ian - 2011-03-02 14:03

    why are they still harping on about that , the media always remeber the bad never the good, we are going to brutalize them tommorow, they will be batting and bowling fodder

  • lorenzobastiaan - 2011-03-02 14:19

    EPIC FAIL article.

  • Rob - 2011-03-02 14:21

    That match was probably contrived.

  • JustinD - 2011-03-02 14:28

    Well it was in Holland so maybe a little puff puff pass went on before the game.

  • Dude28 - 2011-03-02 14:29

    Article FAIL

  • BlackLikeMe - 2011-03-02 14:35

    The Sunnyside Retirement Home's mixed 11 should beat the Netherlands team...that SA team was still dronk when they took the field!

  • weyer.erik - 2011-03-02 14:37

    The only question i have is how much did Hansie made in that match?

  • DeonL - 2011-03-02 14:46

    The Dutch did make 292 against the English, can't be all that bad, you never know. I hope we are not the first upset in the tournament.

  • CapeTownJunk - 2011-03-02 14:50

    Great article, Rob. Cricket is a funny old game, and this game from 1994 was one of those matches that stands out as being a particularly unusual piece of cricketing history.

  • Cire - 2011-03-02 14:59

    Big difference - no Hansie this time around?

      Jim - 2011-03-02 15:23

      Why, do you think Smithy and the boys are not on the take?

      Jim - 2011-03-02 15:37

      No,but maybe a few unknowns.

  • skywalker - 2011-03-02 15:17

    Hansie was captain...'nuff said!

      alessandroz067 - 2011-03-02 15:52

      Hansie was a much better captain than smith (except for the match fixing saga).

  • Anchorman - 2011-03-02 15:57

    why even write this article

  • Fikile - 2011-03-02 15:59

    3 words..... Red light district....

  • jacauc - 2011-03-02 17:30

    Was it not in the last encounter of the 2 sides that Gibbs hit 6 sixes in an over and there's no mention of that even? Just the fact that SA lost to them once, 17 years ago. Does it matter anymore?

  • Me2 - 2011-03-02 20:23

    Sooo??? What's the point of this article, other than to show you have done some research???

  • Rudy.Smyth - 2011-03-03 10:51

    Remember the match very well. I was there in the Hague....a shock defeat!! Best part of the day was meeting the players in the change room. memories

  • pages:
  • 1