A comfortable 5 wicket win over hosts Ireland sees the Netherlands to their second WT20 qualifier final. The Netherlands seam attack put the Dutch on top, a back-of-a-length strategy paying dividends as Ireland were bowled out for 128 one ball short of their 20 overs, and the Dutch middle order saw them home with 11 balls to spare, a 57-run stand for the 3rd wicket between Ben Cooper and Michael Swart keeping the visitors in control and captain Peter Borren finishing clynically with a 24-ball 36 from number 5.
Having won the toss and put Ireland in to bat, Borren elected to persist with Michael Swart's offspin as an opening gambit, and it looked a good option until Paul Stirling opened his account slog-swept six on the last ball of the over.
From there the Dutch switched to seam, and the results were almost immediate. Timm van der Gugten's first over yielded just one run and Mudassar Bukhari bagged the Irish captain's wicket with his first ball - a top edged sweep falling to opposite number Borren at cover. Bukhari struck again in his next over to remove Stirling and with the hosts at 38-2 after the powerplay the Dutch were well on top.
Gary Wilson and Andrew Balbirnie staged something of a recovery, adding 44 for the third wicket, but Paul van Meekeren broke the partnership in the 12th over, beating the oncoming Balbirnie for pace and bounce, a top edge going high and straight down to Barresi, before Roelof van der Merwe then pushed a staighter one through a charging Wilson into the stumps.
A brisk 33 from Kevin O'Brien, including back-to-back sixes off Pieter Seelaar, revived the innings somewhat, and at 107-4 at the close of the 16th the Irish looked set to post a competitive total. In the event however, the last four overs saw just 20 more runs come and six wicket fall as the Dutch pace unit ran through the hosts' lower order.
Hitting a tight line on off stump and consistently back of a length, the Dutch seamers saw a procession of batsment perish looking to lift the run rate. Van Meekeren first had O'Brien caught on the square leg boundary, van der Gugten did for Mooney next over, and Bukhari bagged two more wickets in his final over to finish with figures of 4-28.
With just 127 on the board the hosts needed early wickets to stand a chance of holding back the Dutch. Craig Young found the first of them, cramping Stepahn Myburgh for room as he looked to cut, only to chop the ball down onto his stumps in all-too-familiar a fashion.
Wesley Barresi, once reprieved, holed out off Alex Cusack in the next over and at 16-2 after 3 overs the nerves just began to creep into the chase. Cooper and Swart steadied the ship however, an initially circumspect but slowly accelerating partnership taking the Dutch to 73-2 by the end of the 11th over.
Kevin O'Brien's did his utmost to find a way back into the game for Ireland, his second over claiming Swart's wicket and conceding only one run, his third accounting for Cooper and going for just five to bring the asking rate to 7 per over for the first time in the chase.
The wickets came too late to save them however, Borren and Max O'Dowd edging up toward the 100 mark, before going on the attack in the 17th over - Borren clearly unwilling to let the game go down to wire. 16 runs came from George Dockrelll's final over, O'Dowd deposting the second ball over long-on and Borren sweeping the last two up over fine leg for consecutive fours.
O'Dowd would perish before the end, flicking O'Brien to Dockrell at deep midwicket, but by then only 11 runs were needed and Borren looked a man in a hurry. He took just 5 more balls to get there, finishing with a leg glance for four off the first ball of the 19th, finishing unbeaten on 36 to see his side to the final.