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Ian Callender

Paul Stirling celebrated his nomination in two categories for this year's ICC awards with a trademark, quick-fire half-century as Ireland overwhelmed the Netherlands by nine wickets in the second one-day international at Castle Avenue. Stirling scored 62 from just 36 balls with 11 boundaries - five of them maximums - as Ireland passed the Dutch's paltry total of 125 in the 21st over.

Stirling was out in the 11th over with the total on 85, after an innings which underlined why he is in with the chance of an award at the glittering ceremony in Bangalore in October. Stirling is in the long-list of nominations for the Emerging Player of the Year - alongside Eoin Morgan, among 15 others - and is one of three Ireland players in contention for the Associate Player of the Year; the others are Trent Johnston and Kevin O'Brien.

When Stirling plays the way he did yesterday, he can dominate any attack, as the Australia bowlers who were on the receiving end of his powerful bat in June on this ground will testify. It was the off spinner, Adeel Raja who bore the brunt of his hitting, conceding 26 in his only over, his first three balls and the last disappearing for sixes.

The 19 year old lost three balls in his innings and not for the first time on this tour, the Dutch were begging for mercy. It came to an end when Maruits Jonkman trapped Stirling leg before on the back foot and with slow left armer Peter Seelaar also gaining a measure of control, Gary Wilson and Alex Cusack took another nine overs to score the remaining 41 runs to complete victory.

Wilson, the century-maker in the first game on Monday, finished 48 not out with six fours and a six but he was happy to play second fiddle to Stirling's majesty. National coach Phil Simmons now wants to see Stirling take his game to the next level. "He's been moving from step to step. All it takes for him now is for him to start learning how to put the big hundreds together. He has all the shots, we all know that, but it's just up to him to put the innings together and score some big hundreds," said Simmons, who was just as delighted that Ireland continue to prove they are a class apart at this level.

"It's a big thing for us, we have to make sure at this level that we are seen to be the pace-setters, the ones that are showing what's to be done at this level. What we are trying to do is use what we do against the top teams against the sides at this level and it's showing." The Ireland bowlers also did much as they pleased against a desperately disappointing Dutch batting line-up. Trent Johnston took a wicket with his second ball, and another with the first ball of his third over but it was a spell of three wickets in six balls which reduced the visitors to quivering wrecks.

Nigel Jones took two wickets in his first over and John Mooney followed up with the big wicket of Tom Cooper, caught behind for 25 in his first. Peter Seelaar again held up the Irish from No 8 but for the last two wickets it was a case of the tail trying to bat out the overs. They used up 13 but still failed by 16 balls. The rest of the day, between the showers, was the Paul Stirling show.

Photographs
Castle Avenue, Clontarf