Netherlands stunned Ireland with a thrilling one-run win over their more fancied opponents in the first ODI of the three-match series at Utrecht. Timm van der Gugten was the star with the bat for the home team and scored a magnificent 49 off just 53 deliveries batting at number 9. Pieter Seelaar was the best bowler and returned with three wickets as Ireland, chasing 196 for a win, were restricted to 194 for 9 in their allotted 50 overs.
Netherlands were in trouble at 53 for 5 before Bas de Leede and Saqib Zulfiqar resurrected the innings with a 49-run stand for the sixth wicket. Timm van der Gugten came out to bat at 102 for 7 and counter-attacked with a 49 off just 53 deliveries putting together 72 with Logan van Beek. Netherlands were bowled out for 195 after 50 overs.
Logan van Beek then got a couple of wickets with the new ball which included the wicket of the veteran Ireland batsman William Porterfield. Wickets kept tumbling for Ireand and they were reduced to 69 for 5 before Paul Stirling and Simi Singh put together 66 for the sixth-wicket.
It was none other than Timm van der Gugten who got the breakthrough for Netherlands in the 37th over getting rid of Paul Stirling. Andy McBrine and Simi Singh looked in control and took the score to 178 in the 47th over before the former was dismissed by Seelaar who also got the wicket of Barry McCarthy in the same over - the 47th of the innings.
15 runs were needed off the last two overs with two wickets in hand for Ireland. Fred Klaassen bowled a brilliant penultimate over giving away just three runs - there were as many as 4 dot balls in the over. 12 were needed off the final over. Simi Singh was dismissed off the first legitimate ball courtesy a run-out. Little hit Van Beek for a boundary off the third ball of the over.
The equation was finally reduced to three off the final delivery of the match. Little tried to scoop a fuller delivery outside the off stump but missed. Ireland ran a bye but that is all they could muster. Netherlands had won a thriller by one run. It was a great start for them to their World Cup Super League campaign.
Incidentally the last ODI between Ireland and Netherlands (before the above encounter) was a tie!