24 July 2015
PREVIEW: Ireland takes on the Netherlands for spot in the final
The Dutch have a chance to end the run of the defending champion and ensure there’s a new ICC WT20Q winner
Ireland is now only two games away from defending its title.
Ireland, the defending champion, topped Group A after a comfortable seven-wicket win over Jersey, helping it seal its spot for India straightaway, Paul Stirling's all-round effort of 55 and three wickets instrumental in handing the team a top finish.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, finished second in Group B and clinched its berth for next year’s tournament after thwarting Namibia, winning the game by four wickets. This will be the third appearance at the event for the Netherlands.
Barring the two losses at the hands of Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong, which ended a 21-match winning streak at the tournament for it, Ireland has had a decent run, having won the rest of the games quite comfortably.
William Porterfield, the captain, has led from the front, having accumulated 186 runs in six matches. Handy and timely contributions from the rest, mainly Stirling and Andy Balbirnie, have only added to Ireland’s all-round prowess given how its bowlers have fared.
John Mooney has led the pack with 14 wickets in six games, including a hat-trick against Jersey, operating at a brilliant average of 8.78. Kevin O’Brien and Alex Cusack have been the other successful bowlers with nine wickets each. But what has worked in Ireland's favour is that the batting and the bowling have complemented each other more often than not.
Opening its campaign with a loss to Afghanistan, the Netherlands has since done well, losing just once more in seven games so far. It will take heart from the fact that its top and middle order has come good, and has been able to hold things together even in times of bother.
Ben Cooper, who has 198 runs, has been the star, while Wesley Barresi (193), Stephan Myburgh (170), Peter Borren (125) and Michael Swart (102) have all pitched in with the bat.
Roelof van der Merwe has stood out with the ball, with ten wickets in seven games, while giving away just 6.18 runs per over. He has been ably assisted by Michael Rippon, Timm van der Gugten and Mudassar Bukhari, who have seven scalps each. All of them have been miserly as well.
Consistency has been the key for Ireland so far and that’s what it will look for heading into the semi-final, whereas the Netherlands will look at playing to its strength, which has been its batting.
With plenty of upsets and little separating the teams, this edition of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier has perhaps been most exciting. Ireland is two games away from defending its title, while the Netherlands has a chance to end that run and ensure there’s a new champion.
Ireland: William Porterfield (capt), Andrew Balbirnie, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.
Netherlands: Peter Borren (capt), Rahil Ahmed, Ben Cooper, Vivian Kingma, Max O'Dowd, Pieter Seelaar, Timm van der Gugten, Wesley Barresi, Mudassar Bukhari, Ahsan Malik, Stephan Myburgh, Michael Rippon, Michael Swart, Paul van Meekeren, Thijs van Schelven, Roelof van der Merwe.