Ireland strolled to a commanding victory over the Netherlands in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 in Harare on Sunday, winning by 93 runs via the DLS Method.
Skipper Andy Balbirnie had earlier held Ireland’s innings together with a 75-ball 68, and the Netherlands could never take control of some impressive Ireland bowling.
After Ireland posted 268/7 from 50 overs in the first innings, the second innings was delayed courtesy of a shower during the interval. Thankfully, it didn’t prove too disruptive, but the Netherlands were set a revised target of 243 to win from 41 overs.
They got off to a disastrous start when Max O’Dowd was bowled by Tim Murtagh for a golden duck. Not too long after, fellow opener Wesley Barresi was caught behind for Murtagh’s second scalp, as the Netherlands were left floundering on 25/2.
Ben Cooper and Ryan ten Doeschate attempted to steady the ship but run-rate began to be an issue. Eleven overs into the chase, the Netherlands had only managed three boundaries, hampered by a damp outfield.
Cooper succumbed to the pressure after mistiming a pull shot off Barry McCarthy, skying it high before being caught by Will Porterfield, leaving the Netherlands on 50/3 from 12 overs.
Peter Borran was then calamitously run out by Kevin O’Brien before the same man trapped ten Doeschate lbw. Both O’Brien and George Dockrell proved very difficult to get away.
Roelof van der Merwe was then tempted by a Boyd Rankin full toss, but only managed to flick it off his pads straight to Ed Joyce at fine leg, before Pieter Seelaar edged one behind off the bowling of McCarthy. The Ireland bowler then took a spectacular diving catch off the bowling of Tim Murtagh at deep mid-on to dismiss Scott Edwards.
Timm van der Gugten, who had earlier taken three wickets, offered some resistance for the Dutch tail, and when Paul van Meekeren was caught by Gary Wilson off the bowling of Kevin O’Brien, he decided to smash back-to-back sixes over the mid-wicket boundary. However, he was soon caught by Dockrell in the deep off the bowling of Boyd Rankin to secure victory for the Irish, finishing as the Netherlands’ top-scorer with 33.
Earlier, a captain’s knock by Balbirnie and contributions from their top five took Ireland to a solid 268/7 in their 50 overs. Balbirnie held the innings together with a 75-ball 68 at Old Hararians Sports Club. William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien, meanwhile, just missed out on fifties.
Put in, Ireland got off to a cautious but steady start. The opening pair of Porterfield and Paul Stirling added 59 runs for the first wicket.
Stirling, dropped by Maxwell O’Dowd at point on 9, didn’t really capitalise on the extra life handed to him. He holed out to Ryan ten Doeschate at deep square leg off Paul van Meekeren.
Porterfield looked well settled and had struck four fours and a six before he was trapped in front by Roelof van der Merwe just short of his half-century.
Ireland’s 100 came up in the 24th over, with Ed Joyce digging in, but runs were increasingly hard to come by.
It took Balbirnie and O’Brien to come together for the runs to flow. O’Brien was in an especially punishing mood, smashing two sixes and five fours in his 35-ball 49.
The duo had just crossed the 100-run mark of their fourth-wicket stand when Vivian Kingma got the breakthrough. O’Brien went for another boundary, only to find the man at mid-wicket.
Van der Gugten caused a late wobble, taking three wickets, including that of Balbirnie, in two overs, before Barry McCarthy pushed the total past the 250 mark.