Smits hails huge victory for Dutch
Dutch skipper Jeroen Smits walked out of the dressing room patted all the way by his supporters. He had just completed their victory celebration over England with his team mates in the dressing room.
"I had said on Thursday that we can create an upset and we have done it," was his proud, smiling remark.
Is this the proudest moment for Dutch cricket? "This result speaks for itself, doesn't it? It is a huge victory for Dutch cricket. We are now looking to qualify for the Super Eight and maybe the semi-finals. That will be special."
It has been tough for Smits to keep motivating the team amidst rising pressure. "I told the boys in the dressing room that we are going to do it today."
Smits also revealed what he had advised his batsman who went out to bat. "I told them to play hard, play their shots and kept reminding them that we had nothing to lose. I am really proud of my boys."
The confidence with which the Netherlands batsmen batted shocked England skipper Collingwood too, who candidly admitted that he was stunned by their self belief.
Smits now wants to retain this momentum.
"Twenty20 cricket is all about momentum. We need to maintain it throughout the tournament. We played to our capabilities and took 99 per cent of all the opportunities. Our next opponent is Pakistan and they too like to play their shots upfront. We have four quality bowlers who can restrict them. I am sure we can do it again," he said confidently.
It was a dream come true for Smits who was the 12th man when Netherlands first beat an England XI way back in 1989.
"We beat England in 1989, but last year when we played in the Belfast qualification tournament I told my guys that I have a dream to play in the opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup at Lord's. They have not only made me realise that dream but also made it memorable for me," he said modestly.
Most of the players in his team are employed and have taken leave from their jobs to play in the tournament. "The more we stay here, the more we may stand to lose money; but my team is ready for it. We want to get rid of the tag of being an associate member country. Our aim is become a full member of the International Cricket Council."
Tom Grooth, the man of the match for his splendid knock of 49, could hardly believe his eyes. "It is like a dream for me. I usually come out to bat at No.7 but was promoted to No.4 today. To be out there in front of a full house was amazing," he remarked.
Then how did he handle the pressure? "I told myself to keep playing my game. We went out there to play brave cricket and make England sweat a bit. I am so happy with what I have done," he said, before walking away to receive cheers from the thousands of Dutch fans who were waving at him from the stands.