Stephan Myburgh is no stranger to taking the bowlers head-on in the T20 World Cup. He smashed Ireland to all parts, demolished South Africa’s bowling attack and finished the tournament behind Virat Kohli and his teammate Tom Cooper as the third-highest run-getter in the tournament with 224 runs at a strike-rate of 154.48.
The Netherlands have been drawn alongside Ireland, Namibia and Sri Lanka in Group A and the 37-year-old says he is excited to play his third T20 World Cup.
“Absolutely delighted to represent Netherlands again, which will be my third World Cup. Really looking forward to it. There are a lot of good teams out there and what we’ll also see is the associate teams competing better and better every World Cup. Very exciting World Cup to be seen,” Myburgh said in a chat with Cricket.com’s show ‘Know Your Associates.’
Speaking of his experience in the T20 World Cup, the Netherlands opener said, “Adrenaline plays a big role when you come to the big stages. The Netherlands don’t get an opportunity to play in big leagues. The hype really helps – to know that the crowd is cheering you on, something that the Netherlands are not used to. That’s something that’s helped a lot, especially during the 2014 T20 World Cup when we were in Bangladesh.”
“It also helps when you have a team that’s supporting you and backing you, everyone knows your game plan and you don’t fear any failure. It’s important to back yourself. I was blessed to have a very good 2014 World Cup and hopefully, I can do it this year,” he further added.
The Netherlands needed to chase down 190 in 14 overs to make it to the next round against Ireland in the 2014 edition. Knowing very well as to what was at stake, Myburgh raced 63 off just 23 deliveries and put on 91 for the first wicket with his skipper Peter Borren, which set up the match for his side.
However, while he acknowledges that it was a crucial innings, Myburgh feels that his knock against South Africa a couple of matches later was even more special considering who he was up against.
“When you go out there and you’ve got to chase 190 in 14 overs, you literally got nothing to lose. You can take a few more risks and if it doesn’t come off, it doesn’t come off. That was an innings where it did come off,” the Pretoria-born batter said.
“From a personal point of view, against South Africa, I got a fifty off 20-odd balls and when you’re facing Dale Steyn, Lonwobo Tsotsobe, Morne Morkel – you face some of the best in the world and score a fifty – for me that was a little bit special. That innings stands out to me a little bit more than the Ireland one,” he explained.
The Netherlands have a slightly upper hand going into their first match – incidentally against Ireland once again – given that they edged Ireland out in the ODI series recently.
Speaking of what could once again be a blockbuster clash, Myburgh said, “In the past, Ireland won majority of the games we played against each other. Since 2014, since that game, it’s been pretty evenly balanced. They do have a fantastic team but we do back ourselves against them. That first game we play against them is going to be a crush game for both teams in order to go through to the second round.”
“Even though Utrecht (ODI series) was 50 overs, but we do take quite a bit of confidence from that series win. We missed four key players who were on County duty. With a team that was less experienced, we managed to win. So, it does give us a lot of confidence going into this tournament, playing against them first-up,” he added.
Following Netherlands’ victory in the World Cricket League (WCL), they progressed to the ODI Super League which gives them an opportunity to play against some of the established countries. They started off with a win over Ireland and are in line to face South Africa and England in the coming months, which Myburgh believes are terrific signs for Dutch cricket.
“When I made my debut we had a squad of just 12 guys to pick from. Now, I think a lot of guys have been unlucky not to be in the 17-man squad. We’ve built a squad from 20-25 guys that could have all been here, who are unlucky to miss out. The strength of the squad has enlarged massively. The structure is getting a lot better in the Netherlands,” Myburgh said.
“Qualifying to play in the Super League gives you an opportunity to use some resources in order to grow the game at school and club level. For Netherlands it’s been an up and down journey over the last 10 years and I think we’re moving in the right direction and very excited for the future,” he opined.
The Netherlands are no strangers to causing an upset in the T20 World Cup. They have beaten England twice at the mega event. Will the Dutch spring a surprise or two in this edition? We’re not too far away from finding out.