Odran Flynn (CricketEurope)
Graeme McCarter's six-wicket haul helped Ireland Wolves clinch the series decider against Netherlands A with a convincing five-wicket win at Oak Hill.
For the second time in successive days the captain who won the toss decided that batting was the best option, and on both occasions, it turned out to be a spectacularly wrong choice.
Scott Edwards returned the favour that he had got from Harry Tector yesterday and his side could only manage 11 more runs than Wolves compiled on Wednesday. The innings lasted 28.5 overs which was five more than that of the Wolves.
The win was primarily down to two very impressive performances by Harry Tector and Graham McCarter.
Graeme McCarter took six wickets: Pic Oisin Keniry
Set a target of a mere 106 for victory, the skipper was not fazed by yet another top order collapse which at, 29-3 in the eleventh over, gave the Dutch some hope.
Tector was there until the end, which came off the fourth ball of the 21st over, and each of those deliveries were dispatched either to or over the boundary.
His third searing square cut off that final over brought him to his second half century of the series and required just 49 balls and nine fours while his ramped six finished the game.
However, the opportunity to win with so much time to spare was thanks to another authoritative display of bowling by the attack.
Given that all of Ireland’s team are now home based, the highest level of cricket prior to the World Cup Super League matches are the IP50 games and this Wolves series.
Therefore if these games are to have any value, then McCarter must be on the plane to the Netherlands. His metronomic spells of bowling demoralised the Dutch as he moved the ball both ways and engineered four catches either to the slips or to the wicketkeeper Stephen Doheny.
The wonderful setting at Oak Hill: Pic Oisin Keniry
He also trapped two others in front with balls which were clearly hitting the stumps with only the most myopic Dutchman questioning the decisions.
His figures of 6-32, with the penultimate ball of his allocation wrapping up the innings, are the best in a List A match by anyone in the Ireland A team and better than any in ODI, with the current record held by Paul Stirling who took 6-55 against Afghanistan in 2017.
His figures for the week were 26.4 overs, 3 maidens, 9 wickets for 98 runs at an average of 10.88 and an economy rate of 3.67.
As he has been all week, he was well supported by his pace bowling colleagues, Craig Young and Peter Chase who took 4 and 3 wickets, respectively.
Today also saw the added bonus of an impressive and productive spell of leg-spin from Ben White whose six overs brought him three wickets for just 16 runs, with two of those wickets as a result of sharp slip catches by William Porterfield.
Those are the positives but there certainly must be some concern over the batting, not just in this match but over the course of the week.
In my report of Tuesday’s match, I wrote that the record stand between Shane Getkate and Chase had papered over the cracks in the Wolves batting. Yesterday those cracks widened again and things didn’t improve significantly today as the top order again failed and Wolves are fortunate that they had such a small target to find.
Over the three matches, todays top three in the order, Doheny, Porterfield and James McCollum could only scrape together a combined aggregate of 39 runs from 8 completed innings.
Only Tector (128), Getkate (110) and George Dockrell (56) exceeded 50 runs for the week. The wickets at Oak Hill gave some help to the pace bowlers but they certainly could not be classed as minefields.
The Dutch, with a few exceptions, batted poorly all week and for many on both sides their technique against the moving ball was found wanting.
With Ryan Klein top scoring with just 18, the Dutch knew that only a second successive batting collapse by the Wolves would keep them in the game and Klein and Bas de Leede did their utmost to precipitate that collapse.
However, thanks to Tector and some wayward bowling from the support bowlers the faint hopes were dashed.
The selectors will have plenty to occupy their minds when they convene to select the Ireland squad later in the month. I will be giving my thoughts on that later in the week.
A welcome series win for the Wolves and the IP50 is next up when Northern Knights entertain Leinster Lightning at Comber this Sunday 16th May.
As always CricketEurope will provide full coverage with live commentary from Ian Callender.
Netherlands A 105 all out in 28.5 overs (R. Klein 18, G. McCarter 6-32, B. White 3-16) lost to Ireland Wolves 110-5 in 20.4 overs (H. Tector 57*, R. Klein 2-15) by 5 wickets.