Ireland who have been a team to watch since few years ago have come one step closer to qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 tournament after beating Netherlands in their preliminary finals game by 7 wickets earlier today. The Irishmen who have been part of all World Cup tournaments since ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 except for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 2007 have made it clear that they are here to win and that they will try till the end to qualify for this year’s Twenty20 tournament also.
Earlier on in the day, Ireland skipper William Porterfield won the toss and invited the Dutch to bat first and was successful in restricting his opponents to a lower total. The men in green who gave the cricketing world a tremendous shock in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 last year by beating the English side by 3 wickets with 2 records being broken (The highest successful run chase in the World Cup history and the fastest World Cup century by Kevin O'Brien) lost only one match in the group stages against Namibia to be placed second in their group. They faced their counterparts in the other group today to determine who would advance into the match against Namibia tomorrow which will identify who will grab the only other spot available in the big game.
Coming to bat first, the Netherlands team was off to a shaky start with 2 wickets falling within the first 5 overs with only just 17 runs being scored. Alexei Kervezee and Tom Cooper then put on a 55 runs partnership for the 3rd wicket to consolidate the Dutchmen’s innings which came to an end with the wicket of Cooper who scored 26 runs off 24 balls. Kervezee then took charge of the Netherlands innings and while his partners were scoring low and getting out frequently scored 56 runs to bring the Dutch total to 114/7 at the end of their allocated 20 overs. World Cup 2011 star Kevin O'Brien was the star with the ball this time picking up 2 wickets for 17 runs in his 4 overs while all the other bowlers except Max Sorensen had one kills each.
The Irishmen then came out 15 minutes later with a target of 115 runs to win were off to an amazing start with William Porterfield and Paul Stirling putting up a partnership of 41 runs for the 1st wicket in just 4.2 overs. Ed Joyce who joined Paul after the dismissal of Porterfield for 17 then put up yet another fighting partnership of 32 runs for the 2nd wicket after which Paul was trapped leg before wicket on 33. Irish wicketkeeper Gary Wilson walked in and walked out the very next ball when he was dismissed for a duck. Kevin O'Brien who came in next, did the finishing touches to the game after scoring a quick 30 runs off just 22 ball while his partner who supported him in the 42 run partnership for the 4th wickets scored 25 runs and the men in green emerged victorious in the game by 7 wickets. The Dutch used 7 different bowlers out of which Michael Swart picked up 2 wickets in his 4 over spell while the other bowlers were quite expensive in their bowling which helped the Ireland team to reach their target quite easily.
Ireland is now a step closer to qualifying to the big game. They have one more game against Namibia which will be worked off tomorrow just before the final of the tournament is played. Namibia who have already beaten Ireland in their group stage matches will look towards repeating the same while Ireland will look toward continuing their world cup appearances by winning tomorrow’s game.
Apart from this match, a few other playoff matches were worked off today too. Bermuda and Uganda played the match for the 13th place today in which Bermuda won by 41 runs.
In the 9th place playoff match, Italy played Kenya which Kenya won with a comprehensive 38 runs victory to claim the 9th place of the tournament.
Scotland were placed 5th while Canada was placed 6th when the two teams met each other for the 5th place playoff match in which Scotland won by 4 wickets off the last ball.
Hong Kong was placed 11th in the tournament while Nepal was placed 7th after they won the 11th place and 7th place playoff games respectively. Hong Kong who played against USA got a massive 77 run victory while Nepal played against Papua New Guinea in which game Nepal won by 6 wickets with just 1 ball remaining.
Will new comers Namibia or impressive Netherlands get that last spot to the big tournament; we will have to wait till tomorrow to find that out.