Ireland captain Paul Stirling commended wicket-keeper batsman Stuart Poynter for his clarity of thought and ability to hold his nerve in a tense chase, after Ireland scraped through by one wicket, ending a five-match losing streak against the Netherlands.
With six needed off two balls, and the No. 11 Peter Chase for company, Poynter turned down a single off the penultimate ball, before launching the final delivery into the stands to seal a dramatic victory.
“Poynter turned down the single off the second-last ball, which was the right decision to make, with Chevy [Peter Chase] being at the other end,” Stirling said. “He got one into the deck, slightly a slower ball, and he got a good bit of bat on it and hit it for six, which was brilliant to get the win.”
Just a few shots of today's match heroes - @spoynter_90 @balbo90 @SRThompson91 @KevinOBrien113. #BackingGreen ☘️🏏 pic.twitter.com/RuSQsow0Ne— Cricket Ireland (@Irelandcricket) February 17, 2019
That Ireland wound up chasing only 183 was down to Stuart Thompson. At 116 for no loss in the 10th over, the Netherlands seemed set to go well beyond 200. But the right-arm medium pacer, returning from injury, ripped through the middle order to pick up four wickets – three of them in a single over.
“He got three wickets in an over at one stage, which has happened twice in this tour already,” Stirling said. “He’s missed the last two games through a hamstring niggle, and just to come back and bowl like that has been excellent. Hopefully, now he can go and kick on with the bat. I think that little period which we were both bowling in tandem tied them down a little bit and kept the score to manageable at least.”
Despite eventually stumbling, Stirling pointed out that Netherlands’ total was less than par on this surface. In the three matches that preceded this one, teams had racked up first-innings scores of 180, 166 and 159. But given the opening salvo, Netherlands wound up with a slightly underwhelming total.
“Their score was a little under par,” Stirling said. “The wickets have been excellent out here and the boundaries haven’t been too big, so 180 has been an absolute minimum, and 200 is a score where you’re talking that should win you the match. So I think they’ll be a bit disappointed, given where they were at the 10-over mark, but we were thankful we could drag them back and make it a total we could chase.”
👏👏👏 Player of the match goes to @balbo90 for his 83 from 50 balls. #BackingGreen ☘️🏏 pic.twitter.com/PoBugGqrg3— Cricket Ireland (@Irelandcricket) February 17, 2019
Stirling went on to endorse the tournament, calling for such events to be held on a more frequent basis. “Everything outside the cricket has been absolutely excellent. The facilities have been great and they looked after us really well. This is certainly something we could do on an annual or bi-annual basis,” he said.
“On the field, it has been great for us, but we know the tasks now are only going to get tougher and tougher as we go on to Afghanistan. It’s one-and-a-half to two times the step up we’ll need from the standard we played here, and we’re really going to have to up our game. But the tournament itself was brilliant.”