Let’s take a look at the many powerful emotions conveyed during a Roelof van der Merwe wicket celebration

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2023 World Cup, Game 15, Netherlands v South Africa

Roelof van der Merwe very visibly experiences feelings whenever he takes a wicket for the Netherlands. When he took a couple against his former team, South Africa, en route to a famous victory, he arguably experienced a few more than normal. Let’s take a closer look at his wicket celebrations in that match.

WARNING: This article contains quite a lot of images of Roelof van der Merwe’s wicket celebration face, which may prove upsetting, intimidating or in some other way unnerving for many readers.

With South Africa chasing 246 in 43 overs, van der Merwe clean bowled Temba Bavuma with his first ball.

This, you would think, would be a tremendously emotional moment for a man not exactly famed for his restraint upon dismissing a batter.

He duly delivered his trademark leaning-backwards, fists-clenched, bestial roar.

After a violent double-clap, our man whirled round and gave us our first front-on view of his celebrations.

Are those eyes perhaps just very slightly startled? We feel that maybe even Roelof van der Merwe wasn’t quite ready for this first wicket.

Our favourite part of this one came a couple of moments later. After pinging Scott Edwards away from him by neglecting to flex at all during a high-five, our man then pretty much just boomed a roar straight into Colin Ackermann’s face.

Imagine being on the receiving end of that.

Coverage of this one finished with team-mates trying and failing to restrain van der Merwe’s celebrations.

Roelof van der Merwe’s celebrations cannot be constrained.

But as we said, we do feel like maybe van der Merwe wasn’t quite ready for this one. The blood wasn’t quite pumping. He wasn’t limbered up.

The second wicket came in his next over, when Rassie van der Dussen reverse-swept one straight to Aryan Dutt.

Again, van der Merwe teased us by kicking off his celebrations with his back to camera.

His face was doing this when he turned round. Whatever the hell this is.

It looks a little like the big emotions are dissipating, but let us tell you right now, the big emotions are not dissipating. The big emotions are in fact mustering.

Here they come!

And then we like this next bit, where the top half of his head becomes aware of the wider world and someone catches his attention, yet the bottom half just carries on roaring.

Sybrand Engelbrecht survives the initial high-five, which is misleadingly calm and measured. Again, this is a mere lull.

Because then we get the tertiary roar.

And this is how Roelof van der Merwe looks at team-mates during his wicket celebrations.

Would you approach this man? We definitely wouldn’t.

What follows, however, is a lovely moment where Roelof finally unleashes a smile.

Aww, bless.

And then out of nowhere, the smile metamorphosises into… this.

And then this.

Thankfully for those of a delicate nature, Roelof van der Merwe didn’t take any further South African wickets.

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  1. I feel there is something of a young Robert Shaw about him. Van de Merwe would also make an excellent 60s bond villain.

    1. Well his were typically roars of anguish, rage and frustration, whereas Roelof’s are roars of joy.

  2. Are you absolutely sure that Roelof van der Merwe cranks the facial expressions and body language up to eleven only for international wickets against South Africa?

    I’ve seen him in a similar mode when playing for Somerset against Middlesex, for example. Perhaps he has a special thing about Middlesex wickets as well as Saffer ones. In the absence of more comparative evidence I cannot be sure.

    I know you don’t do requests, KC and even if you did, it would be unreasonable of me to request such a thorough, comparative piece of research. So please don’t bother. Not on my account anyway.

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