By Wisden India staff
Ireland and Zimbabwe left to lick their wounds as the Netherlands joins Bangladesh in World T20 Super 10s
After Zimbabwe shot to the top of Group B with a win against United Arab Emirates in the first match on Friday (March 21), it was always in the realm of possibility for Ireland to succumb to pressure, and that's how the game unfolded, not to take anything away from the fantastic Dutchmen, who played the game of their lives.
Opting to field after winning the toss at the Sylhet Divisional Stadium, the Netherlands needed to cross a staggering 190-run target in just 14.2 overs to progress to the Super 10s. In the event, it did so in just 13.5 overs.
From the second over onwards, Peter Borren and Myburgh, the openers, hit out at everything in sight, giving Ireland a dose of its own medicine. Andy McBrine, who replaced Max Sorensen in the side that played against UAE, was greeted with four sixes in his first over.
The carnage, though, had just begun. Myburgh, who had struck three of the four sixes in McBrine's over, belted three more sixes against Andrew Cusack. Kevin O'Brien had Borren caught by George Dockrell for a 15-ball 31 to bring an end to a 91-run opening stand and, two balls later, Myburgh too fell for a stunning 23-ball 63, but the Netherlands batsmen to follow refused to be silenced.
Though Kevin O'Brien removed Logan van Beek cheaply, Tom Cooper bludgeoned six sixes and one four before falling for a 15-ball 45. Ireland wilted, fumbling on the field and offering full tosses galore, which the batsmen gladly helped themselves to.
Wesley Barresi then finished the match off the penultimate ball of the 14th over with a six over deep midwicket off Tim Murtagh to give the Netherlands what it wanted, their net run-rate superior to that of Ireland’s and Zimbabwe’s.
Earlier, the Netherlands inserted Ireland and though Paul Stirling fell cheaply, William Porterfield, who started with a flurry of boundaries, dictated terms.
The pressure began to tell on the Netherlands as Porterfield unfurled boundaries with ease and Ahsan Malik did himself no favours, dropping Ed Joyce on 2 off Tom Cooper's bowling.
Ireland was cruising along at that stage, but Porterfield went for an audacious heave off Malik when he was three runs short of a half-century, only to find his stumps in disarray. His 32-ball knock contained five fours and two sixes.
Ireland appeared to have shot itself in the foot when Andrew Poynter went for a tight single and ran Joyce out for 28, but the batsman made amends immediately. Michael Swart faced the brunt of his aggression in the 15th over, carted for three successive sixes to return wicketless in his four overs.
Adding to the Netherland's woes was the fact that Kevin O'Brien was no mere spectator at the other end. While Poynter reached his fifty off just 27 balls, Kevin O'Brien served up supersized sixes of his own.
Having reached 189 for 4 in its quota of overs, Ireland will have expected to win. If nothing else, it would have thought it had done enough to go through on a strong enough net run-rate. On the day though, it wasn’t to be.