Having played in the same South Africa team as Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis, Roelof van der Merwe finally reached a World Cup, with the Netherlands. The 38-year-old is a member of a select group of just 16 men who have taken part in two countries. Van der Merwe appeared in 13 ODIs for South Africa between 2009 and 2010 before switching allegiance to the Dutch in 2019.
He is not the oldest player in the tournament. That honor goes to his teammate Wesley Barresi, who already celebrated his 39th birthday. “I love competing, so I think that helps me stay fit and want to play,” Van der Merwe said on Sunday.
“I love playing and competing against other teams and other players.”
His four matches for the Dutch have yet to produce any fireworks, with just two wickets, although he did score his first, and so far only, international half-century for his adopted nation against Zimbabwe in 2019.
He has thrived in the short Twenty20 format, making 48 on his debut in South Africa against Australia in 2009.
Three years ago, under the Dutch flag, he scored 75 not out against Zimbabwe and bagged four wickets.
Those skills have been in demand and have taken him to county cricket and T20 in England, the IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils, as well as the Caribbean Premier League.
“Whatever team I play for, I want to win. So it doesn’t change whether I play in a World Cup or a local competition,” Van der Merwe said.
“I want to win cricket matches and I will try my best, whether on the field, giving advice, training off the field. I am always well prepared and I just want to win matches and nothing changes by playing.” for the Dutch.”
In his World Cup debut against Pakistan on Friday, he took figures of 0-36 before being run out for four as the Dutch battled hard before slumping to an 81-run defeat.
On Monday they will face New Zealand. The runners-up of the last two World Cups began the 2023 tournament with an impressive nine-wicket demolition of defending champions England.
Van der Merwe said his team will not be surprised when facing Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra, who both hit unbeaten centuries in the victory over England.
“Those two guys formed a great partnership in the previous game, but you know we have our plans to take them out,” he said.
“New Zealand are a very organized and skilful team, so we know we are up against a quality team.”
New Zealand has beaten the Netherlands in all four of their meetings, including one at the 1996 World Cup in India.
Three of those victories have been by resounding margins of more than 100 runs.
“If we play the way we play and execute the way we want, then we can put pressure on them and win the game,” added Van der Merwe, who backed batsman Bas de Leede and opener Vikramjit Singh to be among the runs again on Monday. .
De Leede scored 62 and Singh scored 52 against Pakistan. De Leede also claimed four wickets.
“Bas and Vicky played very well,” van der Merwe said.
The Dutch had been well placed in that game, going 120-2 in pursuit of a target of 287 runs.
“We have reviewed Pakistan’s game and understand where we need to improve.
“Obviously what we learned is that we have to do it for longer and that has been discussed and if you compare it to T20 cricket, it is 30 overs longer.
“So it speaks for itself and we need to do it longer and push them longer.”
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