Ireland well beaten by The Netherlands
Ireland lost their grip on the World T20 Qualifying trophy at the semi-final stage at Malahide on Saturday as a disappointing batting performance was the catalyst for a 5-wicket defeat by the Netherlands.
Asked to bat first, William Porterfield's team never really got going and chasing a total of just 128 the Dutch were able to pick the hosts off with almost 2 overs to spare.
Mudassar Bukhari was the man who did the bulk of the damage, accounting for Porterfield (4) and Paul Stirling (18) in a man-of-the-match spell of 4-28.
Andrew Balbirnie (31) and Gary Wilson (20) rallied briefly with a 44-run stand while Kevin O'Brien hit 3 sixes in a breezy 33 as the hosts limped to 112 for 4 with 3 overs left.
Paul van Meekeren (2-14) reined things back for the Netherlands in the middle however and any hope of a big finale were soon blown away as Bukhari and Timm van der Gugten (2-16) polished off the lower half of Ireland's batting order.
Disappointingly, George Dockrell with 8 was the best of the bottom six as Ireland were all out from the penultimate delivery of their 20 overs.
While it was a disappointing effort from Porterfield's side it would be unfair to take away from Dutch skipper Peter Borren who stuck with his plan to bowl short to the Irish batsmen and it was a ploy that certainly had the desired effect late on.
With 129 to get the Netherlands started shakily as Craig Young and Alex Cusack picked up the wickets of Stephen Myburgh (1) and Wesley Barresi (9) respectively.
Ben Cooper (43) and Michael Swart (21) got the momentum back with a 44-run partnership before Kevin O'Brien removed them both to give Ireland a glimmer of hope.
Skipper Borren was proving a tougher nut to crack however and he held firm to ensure that his side would cement their place in Sunday's decider.
Borren paced the reply really well and with Max O'Dowd (17) saw it through to a thoroughly deserved win- the captain unbeaten on 36 (4 fours and a six) when the winning run was scored.
It was a disappointing result for Ireland who now face a third/fourth play-off place match against Hong Kong tomorrow (10AM), ahead of the all European final between The Netherlands and Scotland (14:15).