Right-arm Netherlands pacer Paul van Meekeren played a crucial role in his side’s historic victory over South Africa on Tuesday in their World Cup 2023 encounter as the Dutch caused a major upset in Dharamsala.
The 30-year-old seamer bowled at accurate lines and lengths, keeping the Protea batters in check, and returned with brilliant figures of 2/40 in 9 overs, maintaining an economy of only 4.4. He took the important wickets of Aiden Markran – knocking his off-stump with a jaffa – and Marco Jansen.
It was a dream moment for Paul van Meekeren and the Netherlands players. However, only a few years ago, Paul van Meekeren had to take up the job of an Uber delivery boy to earn his livelihood, hoping to get through every month.
Back in November 2020, he had put out a tweet, revealing the state of his life then when the pandemic had hit the world and the T20 World Cup 2020 was postponed. Netherlands had qualified for the T20 WC 2020, which was to be played in Australia initially before being rescheduled, but the tournament was pushed back.
However, despite struggling to meet ends financially, Meekeren posed optimistic feelings on Twitter, indicating that he will fight all challenges in his life with a smiling face.
Paul van Meekeren tweeted in November 2020: “Should’ve been playing cricket today 😏😢 now I’m delivering Uber eats to get through the winter months!! Funny how things change hahaha keep smiling people 😁”
This tweet from the right-arm pacer went viral on social media as he and his Netherlands teammates inched closer to a memorable win over South Africa. He had had a similar landmark moment last year when the Netherlands defeated South Africa in the T20 World Cup 2022 match in Adelaide, which ended South Africa’s dreams of qualifying for the semis.
Now, in the World Cup 2023 in Dharamsala, they stopped South Africa’s winning chariot as the Proteas had won their first two matches with dominance. This further opened up the points table, carrying on from Afghanistan’s win over England a couple of days ago.
This was South Africa’s first loss to an Associate country in the men’s ODI World Cup. This was Netherlands’ only third win in 23 matches at the men’s ODI World Cup.
The stuff of dreams, they say.