The Irish cricket team put in a commanding performance against the Netherlands in their first Group A encounter at the T20 World Cup in Abu Dabi; coming away with a vital two points.
This round of two groups marks an early qualifier stage with the top two going forward to groups with higher ranked sides. Ireland’s group with Sri Lanka, Namibia and the Netherlands has already been recognised as a “group of death” where each side looks well capable.
When Dutch captain Pieter Seelar won the toss and elected to bat, Irish captain Andrew Balbernie appeared undeterred at the prospect of chasing at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
The run out of Ben Cooper allowed Ireland’s bowlers to exert early pressure, with notable spells from Mark Adair and Josh Little.
However the heart of the Netherlands middle order was soon ripped out by Curtis Campher who achieved the unusual feat of four wickets in four balls.
From 51-6, a recovery operation was attempted by the Dutch skipper and the dangerous Max O’Dowd who had watched the damage unfold. But this came to an end when the opener holed out for 51 off 47.
Seelar’s 21 off 29 eventually helped his team to 106. While well below par, Ireland would have felt the need for caution against a strong Dutch attack.
This cautious approach worked with Stirling and Campher knocking off the runs for the loss of three wickets; losing O’Brien, Balbernie and Delaney along the way.
While largely successful, the cautious approach by Ireland may come back to bite if net run rate is required to separate the four sides.
However the Irish side will be more than happy with points, and the positives of Campher, Adair and Little with the ball, as well as Delaney coming back from injury who is looking increasingly like the one of the side’s more important batters.
The Netherlands who looked under cooked throughout may be asking themselves how Ireland’s preparation allowed them to dominate throughout, but both sides also the know the importance of putting this fixture quickly behind them.
Ireland’s next Group A fixture against Sri Lanka is on Wednesday at 3pm on Sky Sports Cricket.