Adair relishing Dutch challenge
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
SCOTLAND and Oman completed the six qualifiers for next year’s T20 World Cup with victories in the final play-off games in Dubai yesterday.
The Scots, who surprisingly finished in fourth place in their group, came good when it mattered to crush UAE, the third place team in Ireland’s group by 90 runs, bowling out the hosts for 108, and Kyle Coetzer’s side can now look forward to spending next October at the finals in October.
But there was disappointment for Trent Johnston, the former Ireland captain and now coach of Hong Kong, who will not be able to bring his team to his native Australia, after they lost last night’s game to Oman by 12 runs.
Hong Kong were well placed halfway through the first innings when they reduced the Omanis to 46-6 but 88 came off the last 10 overs and when Hong Kong slumped to 18-5 in reply it was always a battle in a losing cause.
Meanwhile, Mark Adair has described Netherlands as “dangerous opponents” ahead of Ireland’s semi-final tomorrow afternoon.
The teams have met three times in the last six weeks so are familiar rivals but Adair, Ireland’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament, is not reading too much into Ireland’s two victories, in Oman and in a warm-up game ahead of the Qualifiers.
“It gives us confidence to know we can beat them again but it will give them fire in their belly to beat us,” says Adair. “So it won’t be easy by any means.
“They have a couple of guys who have come in, guys kick on during the tournament and they have a lot of experience, so they are pretty dangerous.
“They have a good bowling attack (arguably the best in tournament), good athletes in the field so they have no glaring weaknesses and we will have to play good cricket to come out on top.”
Adair has good memories of the Dutch, taking five wickets in those games and hitting 24 off 12 balls in the Dubai International Stadium, the venue for the semi-final.
“That was only six games ago, but I’m not under pressure to perform. There are a lot of guys in this team who can do it so it is not lumped on anyone’s shoulders."
However, it is the 23-year-old from Holywood who is now one of the first names on the Ireland team-sheet, less than six months since his debut.
“It’s been a real great summer, if we can kick on and win this competition and then in the Caribbean and onwards into 2020 then it will be a great 12 months for me, but for now I’m just trying to focus on these last two games,” added Adair.