SA20 League: Proteas wary of “Bulldog” Van der Merwe’s bite

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Photo Credit: SA20 League

Temba Bavuma will be hoping his former Sunrisers Eastern Cape teammate Roelof van der Merwe doesn’t come back to bite the Proteas in today’s crunch ICC World Cup clash against the Netherlands in Dharamshala.

Proteas captain Bavuma and Van der Merwe were both part of the Betway SA20 Season 1 championship-winning Sunrisers Eastern Cape squad last season.

Van der Merwe, who is nicknamed the Bulldog, played a pivotal role, in fact, by claiming the inaugural Betway SA20 Bowler of the Season award.

Equally, the left-arm spinner has previously been a thorn in the side of the Proteas, claiming a brilliant diving catch in the Netherlands’ shock victory over their more fancied opponents at last year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

Netherlands coach Ryan Cook, who is also South African, claims Van der Merwe will certainly be keen to help the Dutch repeat their Adelaide party trick.

“I think Roelof’s energy out there speaks for itself you know he’s got a great passion for the game” Cook said.

“He obviously gives his full 100% and wears his heart on his sleeve for the team that he’s playing for.

“Roelof took that diving catch out in that T20 World Cup last year and a lot was made of that. I have no doubt that he’ll be out there tomorrow and, you know, putting his best foot forward and giving 100% to the team.”

Bavuma is certainly not underestimating Van der Merwe and the rest of his Dutch teammates.

“We’ll give them the respect that they deserve, Netherlands. We know that their side will prepare with proper attention to detail and they’ll cover their bases,” Bavuma said.

“We’ve got to make sure that we do the same thing, we make sure that we pitch up, there’s no expectation that things are just going to happen our way.

“But most importantly, we just keep backing what we are doing. So, there’s no complacency or taking the game for granted.”

Van der Merwe, who has parted ways with the Sunrisers for Betway SA20 Season 2, is not the only Dutch player with South African heritage. 

Batter Colin Ackerman enjoyed a fruitful domestic career with the Warriors at St George’s Park before moving to Europe, while former SA U19 star SA Engelbrecht, who was once likened to Jonty Rhodes for his fielding prowess, is also part of the Dutch squad.

Cook claimed this will certainly be to his team’s advantage in today’s clash.

“We’ve got a couple of guys with South African origin in our team with Roelof and Colin and obviously a couple of guys from the coaching staff as well, so we do know a lot of the players quite personally and professionally as well – having done a lot of work with them in different teams that we’ve been involved in,” he said.

“So yeah we get to know a little bit more about the players and what makes them tick and obviously we’ll be using that to try and you know see if there’s any advantage that we can use.”

The match starts at 10:30 am (SA time) and will be broadcast live on SuperSport. 

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