South Africa up against their bogey team in batter-unfriendly New York

South Africa

Match details

Netherlands vs Nepal
New York, 10.30am local

Big picture: Third time lucky for South Africa?

Once is coincidence, twice is a clue, and three times is proof.

To paraphrase Agatha Christie, that is the narrative around South Africa’s meeting with Netherlands at this T20 World Cup.

The Dutch beat South Africa at the 2022 tournament and ended their semi-final hopes in a match where South Africa appeared to be sleep walking, and then beat them again at the 2023 ODI World Cup, where they exposed South Africa’s vulnerability in the chase. If they to do the treble, not only will Netherlands take the lead in Group D, but they will offer conclusive evidence of the threat they pose to Full Members, especially South Africa.

Of course, it will take some doing after South Africa’s opening performance against Sri Lanka, where they reduced their opposition to their lowest T20I total and chased it down in fairly straightforward fashion thanks to the most stable middle-order of their white-ball era. In Aiden Markram, Tristan Stubbs, Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, South Africa have bankers and big-hitters and, for this match, they also have the advantage of experience. They’ve already played at Eisenhower Park, and have first-hand knowledge that run-scoring doesn’t come easily; Klaasen said they are prepared to use their “cricket brains” and play “smarter cricket”.

But the conditions could be good news for Netherlands, who are not naturally a line-up of big hitters and build their innings on a foundation of turning ones into twos. In other words, they tend to take a slightly more conservative approach to batting, which may work well here, but they’ll be wary of the uneven bounce of the surface and will have to come up with plans to counterattack especially against South Africa’s seamers. Their own bowlers were exemplary in Dallas and will look to build on that performance against a line-up that will likely be more proactive than Nepal’s, but who they have managed to keep quiet not once, but twice in the past. Third time’s the charm, they say.

Form guide

South Africa: WLLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Netherlands: WLLLW

In the spotlight: Reeza Hendricks and Vivian Kingma

After not getting a game at the 2022 T20 World Cup, Reeza Hendricks is the first-choice opener at this event and, as the batter with the lowest strike-rate in T20Is in South Africa’s top six, will be desperate to show what he is capable of. He had limited opportunity in the Sri Lanka match – he only faced two balls before being dismissed Test-match style by Nuwan Thushara, whom he edged to slip. Now he has had time to come to terms with how to play in New York and must combine his shots with the patience he must have, after waiting so long for an opportunity this high-profile.

Vivian Kingma went wicketless against Nepal but that is no reflection of the threat he posed. He got movement upfront, swung the ball away from the right-hand batters, beat the bat on several occasions and found the edge in a spell that set the tone for the Dutch. On a surface that could have considerably more assistance for him, South Africa’s top order will want to be at their most watchful while also finding a way to target the bowlers around him.

Team news: Do Netherlands play an extra seamer?

Anrich Nortje’s stunning return to form against Sri Lanka means South Africa may not have to tinker with the bowling combination, and Gerald Coetzee and Tabraiz Shamsi may have to wait their turns to get a game. The batting line-up should be unchanged, with no space for Ryan Rickelton yet.

South Africa: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Aiden Markam, 4 Tristan Stubbs, 5 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Ottneil Baartman, 11 Anrich Nortje

Conditions in New York may tempt Netherlands to include an extra seamer and they have Kyle Klein in their squad. But it could come at the expense of a shortened batting line-up and they may not want to risk that.

Netherlands: 1 Michael Levitt, 2 Max O’Dowd, 3 Vikramjit Singh, 4 Sybrand Engelbrecht, 5 Scott Edwards (capt, wk), 6 Bas de Leede, 7 Teja Nidamanuru, 8 Logan van Beek, 9 Tim Pringle, 10 Paul van Meekeren, 11 Vivian Kingma

Pitch and conditions

We’re going to see a “new” surface at the venue tomorrow with one of the middle pitches set to make their first tournament appearance, and there will be many eyes on it. The same surface will be used for the India-Pakistan match, so this fixture is something of a test run. From what we’ve seen so far, both pitches 1 and 4 have been tricky for batters because of inconsistent bounce. The ICC has acknowledged the quality has not been up to the standard expected and that it is working on a “remedy.” So far, it has been observed that grass has been shaved off one of the surfaces, which could reduce some of the bounce.

At least, everyone can fully focus on the strip and not overhead because the weather is set fine, with highs in the mid-20s.

Stats and trivia

  • Netherlands have beaten South Africa in their previous two World Cup meetings, but have not won any matches against them outside of those two.
  • Ottneil Baartman is the leading South African wicket-taker in T20s this year and the sixth-highest overall. His 34 wickets have come at an average of 15.17, the best among the top ten wicket-takers.
  • At 121.13, Max O’Dowd has the highest career strike rate in the Dutch squad. Five South Africans – Reeza Hendricks, Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and Aiden Markram – have higher numbers than that.


“We definitely want to get back a couple of games against Netherlands. They just do the basics extremely well. The moment they get on top of you, they become a difficult beast. When they do the basics right, they do it so well that they keep squeezing you. They have unbelievable outfielding, so it’s not easy just to shift that momentum against them. For us, it’s a big game.”
Heinrich Klaasen is not hiding away from the fact that South Africa have unfinished business against the Dutch

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent for South Africa and women’s cricket

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