Ireland's batsmen overcome fighting Dutch


Ireland beat The Netherlands by nine wickets at a damp, dank Amstelveen on Tuesday, but the game was closer than the margin of victory might suggest.

The Dutch got away to a good, steady start after Ryan Haire won the toss and asked them to bat, with Rifaiz Bakas and Steven de Bruin putting on 44 for the first wicket before Bakas, on 20, mistimed an off drive off Allen Coulter and James Hall, running away to his left at mid-off, took a splendid catch.

Lesley Stokkers did not last long before he became the first of three victims for Andrew Balbirnie, all of them involving keeper Fintan McAllister. Having caught Stokkers, he then put an end to a valuable 51-run stand between De Bruin and Peter Borren, snapping up a catch from De Bruin off Balbirnie’s bowling.

De Bruin had just reached a well-deserved half-century, facing exactly 100 balls for his 50 and hitting four boundaries.

Borren batted through the rest of the innings, but from a total of 119 for two in the 36th over the Dutch subsided somewhat, none of the later batsmen keeping the captain company for long.

Hall switched ends when Balbirnie completed an excellent ten-over spell, taking three for 28, and picked up two wickets, but Borren maintained the momentum despite the regular departures at the other end.

He remained not out on 69 at the close, made off 81 balls with 5 fours, and the Dutch total reached 192 for nine.

It was probably twenty or thirty short of what was needed, but Somesh Kohli and Graeme Davey put the openers under severe pressure when Ireland replied, and Kenny Carroll and Hall went through a difficult period with the ball frequently missing the edge of the bat.

Davey’s spell of seven overs for 18 was particularly impressive, and once he and Kohli came off Borren also bowled well.

But the openers had weathered the storm, and runs gradually began to flow as the second and third change bowlers came on.

Hall played the more aggressively early on, but when he had reached 36 and the total 75 he tried to hit a Borren delivery through midwicket and succeeded only in skying it to Davey at mid-off.

That was to be the only Dutch success, however, as David Kennedy joined Carroll and the pair steadily took control in an unbroken partnership of 118.

The Dutch bowlers were unable to bowl tightly enough to maintain the pressure, and with wickets in hand the Irish batsmen were increasingly willing to force the pace.

Even so, it took them until the 46th over to hit the winning runs, by which time Carroll had reached a 129-ball 81, containing five fours and a six, and Kennedy completed a fine half-century, made off 64 balls with four boundaries, when he hit the winning runs.