Frankly speaking, making history is nothing new for The Netherland’s Women’s team, who, many may not easily recollect were among the first teams to host Australia way back in 1937. What some may also not remember is that in 1972, the Netherland’s women’s team had already marked their foray into one-day international cricket, a period of time significant in that it was only 12 years after this date where the Dutch men’s team would play their maiden one-day international.
This central theme, that women have done it earlier than men, is something that’s recurring in the annals of The Netherland’s women’s cricket. Although it’s only a few hours earlier that the fact that women did it even better than men, came to light where the T20 internationals are concerned.
If August 26 is largely remembered for being the birth anniversary of talents like the West Indies’ Tino Best and England’s Rory Burns, then the Netherland’s women’s cricket team achieved a feat so daunting and precious that for times to come, it’ll be remembered for being the date where Dutch cricketer Frederique Overdijk conquered the French women and that too, in the women’s T20 international world cup qualifiers.
That Frederique Overdijk nearly captured almost every French wicket in a much-vaunted display of fast-bowling makes the feat every bit as admirable as it is envy-inspiring.
In that format of the game where a dot ball collected by a bowler is seen as a moral victory, that Frederique Overdijk bowled 2 maidens, giving away just 3 runs whilst collecting 7 wickets on her own is a feat every bit as remarkable as the rise of women’s cricket itself, in a largely men-centric sport.
An olympian performance that eventually read: 4 overs- 2 maidens- 3 runs- 7 wickets.
That six of those blistering dismissals came by virtue of right arm medium fast Frederique Overdijk uprooting the stumps of the French batters marked the scenes at Cartagena, Spain riddled with bellicose cricketing display.
To imagine a T20 international side bundled out for 33 sounds more like a joke recited to deliberately humour a gathering. A figment of one’s imagination. That sort of thing could happen on PlayStation video games and fantasy apps; not on the real cricket field and definitely not when two teams are vying for a spot in the ICC Women’s T20 world cup.
That this happened for real courtesy a mesmeric bowling performance that produced the highest score from a French bat of 8- not more- seemed a sight mired in Hollywood-baked imaginarium.
What’s even interesting is that the disruptive spell on August 26 wasn’t the only bowling effort from Frederique Overdijk’s end; a few hours earlier, the same record-breaking bowler would go wicket-less in a contest against Scottish women which her Netherlands lost.
Who would know that a spell of full full overs would transpire a few hours later breaking the back of a largely unsuspecting French side with its captain scoring 5 whilst batting in the middle for as many overs?
But that’s cricket. It’s ebbs and flows and continues to mesmerise fans- endlessly so.
What’s important is to note that at the back of a record-breaking spell, which saw Frederique Overdijk become the first bowler in women’s cricket history to take a 7-for, the Heather Siegers-led side open its account in a tournament where it all matters.
That the right-arm fast medium entered the game at the back of a rather ordinary record- 4 T20I wickets as of August 25, 2021- would make the feat even more meaningful.
There are Test bowlers who, at the back of long hostile spells manage no more than a fifer at the end of a day’s play, at times bowling 25-30 overs in a single day.
That Frederique Overdijk conceded single-figure scores from 4 overs is as extraordinary as the fact that, as on date, not a single men’s cricketer has taken a 7-for in a T20I yet.
That’s when T20 internationals have been played for over a decade and a half.
The best figures in men’s cricket belong to Deepak Chahar and his 2019 exploits against Bangladesh. The previous best figures belonged to Nepal’s Anjali Chand, who didn’t concede a run whilst taking a 6-for, much like Chahar, albeit against the Maldives women.
Now, the nation of canals, museums, ultra sassy chic bars and the land from where athletes like Max Verstappen and Jelte Schoonheim hail from has another hero. And it’s a woman dominating the charts, a young one at that- all of 21 with an entire cricketing career, i.e., her best-days laying ahead of her.