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Netherlands Defeat South Africa at Cricket World Cup: Evaluating the Competition After Capitulation
- Netherlands have beaten South Africa at the Cricket World Cup despite being almost buried
- The Proteas had a chance to top the standings on net run rate and could still rue this result
- Big names are currently playing catch-up with decisive encounters looming on the horizon
It may still be early but time runs out quicker than expected. The initial jabs have been thrown and for those who have not been alert enough, they may have their ears nervously ringing.
For example, South Africa came out swinging but got sucker punched by the Netherlands. New Zealand and India have been solid, while England and Australia have their backs against the ropes.
The Proteas looked sure to make it three wins from three when they had the Netherlands 140/7 with 10 overs to bat.
A 64-run eighth-wicket partnership between Roelof van der Merwe and Scott Edwards got the Dutch back in the game, but South Africa would have been confident that their stellar batting line-up would see them home.
A stuttering run chase went from bad to worse and eventually, the Proteas fell 38 runs short.
South Africa has now received a rude awakening and instead of leading the pack, will be looking over their shoulder at how their rivals are faring.
Sri Lanka are winless and despite this result, the Netherlands should join Bangladesh and Afghanistan in fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.
Perennial favourites, Australia are in trouble and if they are unable to beat Pakistan in their next fixture, then their semi-final hopes are fading.
Pakistan have failed their only serious test so far against India, so the tie with Pat Cummins' men will have huge psychological consequences.
Hosts, India and finalists four years ago, New Zealand have been in fine form with players topping the individual stats columns.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja are the top three most economical bowlers in the tournament so far, while Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma feature in the batting average column.
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For New Zealand, Daryl Mitchell tops the batting average stats, Matt Henry has the most wickets with eight, and Mitch Santner has recorded the tournament's best bowling figures in a single innings.
The Proteas versus Netherlands result would have pleased England the most, with the two meeting on Saturday.
South Africa would have had the chance to put daylight between themselves and the defending champions, but the door now remains open for Jos Buttler's team.
Quinton de Kock heroics needed
He only scored 20 against the Netherlands but smashed 209 in total in his first two opportunities.
The opening batsman and wicketkeeper will depart 50-over cricket at the end of the competition.