Ireland v Netherlands, World T20 Qualifier, Group A, Dharamsala March 13, 2016

Van Meekeren seals Netherlands sign-off victory


Netherlands 59 for 5 (Myburgh 27, Dockrell 3-7) beat Ireland 47 for 7 (van Meekeren 4-11) by 12 runs
Scorecards and ball-by-ball details

Paul van Meekeren is ecstatic after dismissing Max Sorensen © ICC/Getty Images

Ireland's faith in themselves as the leading nation among cricket's cold-shouldered fraternity was dented when they lost to the Netherlands in Sylhet in the 2014 World Twenty20. Two years on, their sense of well-being has been further eroded in a six-over thrash on a cold and grouchy day in Dharamsala that fell Netherlands' way by 12 runs

There was snow on the mountain tops in Himachal Pradesh, if the drizzle had cleared the temperatures were plunging and Ireland felt the chill as once they were again tormented by the side in orange.

Sainsbury's supermarket was once forced to ditch its orange branding when the elderly citizens of Frinton-on-Sea, England's staidest seaside resort, complained it was too garish, and increasingly Ireland will look upon the Netherlands and know how they feel.

The orange flash at deep midwicket that sparkled most brightly of all came 14 balls into Ireland's pursuit of 60 and belonged to Pieter Seelaar as he sprinted along the midwicket boundary before clinging to a slick diving catch. There will be few better in the tournament proper. Paul van Meekeren banged the ball in back of a length, Kevin O'Brien's pull was middled, but the shot that might have broken the run chase (had it gone for six Ireland would have been 34 for 1 after 14 balls) was instead the harbinger of Ireland's growing despondency.

As for van Meekeren, a return of 4 for 11 will awaken a little interest, one suspects, in English county cricket. By the time he began the final over, Ireland were still 20 short, and he demolished the stumps of Max Sorensen and George Dockrell to ensure there was no monkey business.

Whatever occurred, both countries knew at the start of this match that they were already eliminated. There was no mountain left to climb - just the Himalayas to look at as they headed to the airport, but Netherlands headed there much the happier.

Twas a game, of sorts, and there was a passion to win it. Only one Ireland player was allowed to bowl two overs and Dockrell's left-arm spin proved to be a wise choice, registering 3 for 7, and producing catching opportunities from three of his first five balls, two of which were taken. Seven dot balls out of 12, including an over in the Powerplay, was an astounding effort that might have brought victory.

The Dharamsala pitch offered up its usual plasticine consistency, but Dockrell found turn all the same as Netherlands' batsmen floundered against him. Tom Cooper slogged his third ball to mid-on, affording the opportunity to prey upon Roelof van der Merwe who was promoted to No. 3.

It did not work out for van der Merwe. Twice, he slogged Dockrell's left-arm spin to the legside. Kevin O'Brien spilled the first - a slice to long-off and a grimace from O'Brien as he landed heavily, but van der Merwe's next attempt was entirely bungled and he fell off the cue end at short third man.

The coup de grace came in Dockrell's second over when his turn outdid Wesley Barresi as he came down the pitch, leaving Niall O'Brien with a simple stumping.

Memories of Sylhet in 2014 meant that Ireland were particularly wary of Stephan Myburgh. When Netherlands chased down 190 in 13.5 overs in the World T20 two years ago, the muscular Myburgh got 63 - his 50, in 17 balls standing as the equal third fastest in T20Is.

On this occasion he was dropped on 9 by Paul Stirling at deep midwicket but was still restricted to 27 from 18 balls before he was run out against the penultimate ball. Dockrell bowled only one ball at him - the first ball of his spell - and got away with a leg bye off his waist.

Stirling was quick to address Ireland's chase. He twice walked across his stumps in Timm van der Gugten's first over to flick him over fine leg for six. But Seelaar's thrilling intervention changed the complexion of the game and Stirling fell to the next ball, his ramp shot collected at third man.

At 28 for 3 off 2.3, Ireland had opportunity even in a six-over game for a settling period, but their plight worsened when Gary Wilson and Andrew Poynter departed against van der Merwe within three balls - Wilson falling to a reverse sweep, Poynter skying a rustic slog.

With 25 needed from two, and only five wickets remaining, Netherlands were suddenly favourites. A fine penultimate over from Mudassar Bukhari meant 20 were needed off the last. They never got close.

And that, for Ireland and Netherlands, was that. A dead rubber in a qualifying tournament disrupted by rain and in a state where most attention has been drawn by a grandstanding chief minister, was a cruel end for both sides to their stay in Himachal Pradesh.

But they remained as driven as ever by the need to advertise their worth, propelled by an entrenched sense of anger towards a sport that limits their appearances to occasional token appearances and a lack of expansionist philosophy in the higher echelons of the ICC. Even in a match reduced to 72 balls, their passion insisted that they deserve better.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Nithin Dharan on March 14, 2016, 12:36 GMT

    @Nathan. Ireland was one of my favourite team. We people are getting very less opportunity to watch Irish cricket (in India I haven't seen any channels broadcasting Ireland's matches except ICC events). Whatever we getting to watch in ICC events are not great.We want Ireland to be the next test playing team. Wish all good luck.

  • Praveen on March 14, 2016, 11:03 GMT

    Thrice in this game 2 wkts were taken of consecutive balls!!! this a record???

  • Jan on March 14, 2016, 9:20 GMT

    Hup hup Holland!! van Meekeren was mighty impressive, and one has to salute this Dutch side for producing this kind of talent and finesse in a country, where most people don't even know about cricket. In general, people from the Netherlands are tall, with good ball skills (look at their soccer, as well as achievements in other sporting codes). Hence, with the right funding, exposure and opportunities, the men in Oranje can become a force to be reckoned with!

  • Bernard Arthur on March 14, 2016, 9:16 GMT

    Dear Mr. Hopps, I thoroughly agree with you. These two teams deserve a better treatment from Cricket`s authorities.

  • Kanakaraj on March 14, 2016, 8:14 GMT

    What happened to a stadium in Guwahati and other cricket grounds? Weather is playing more games than cricket.

  • Olly on March 13, 2016, 22:56 GMT

    What bugs me most is that the commentators said Van Meerkeren is 'a good find for NL'. This guy is not a find. I have played against this guy on various occasions and every time he is better and better. He is a product of the system the dutch have worked so hard on for the last 15 years to develop youth. There are many more where he came from. For example this squad had Kingma and Zulfiquar. Ahmed is also featured regularly in the squad. There is so much pure home grown talent, in the Netherlands. Unfortunately most of these guys will never get the chance to showcase their passion and world class (yes, world class) skill on an international level. For the rest of the world they will be 'amazing finds' and one hit wonders, just because they only got one chance. The commentators said Van Meerkeren had his whole future ahead of him, unfortunately that entails what, 100 matches if he has a 10 year career and assuming no injury or no games are rained off and is selected for every match.

  • Nathan Williams on March 13, 2016, 20:32 GMT

    @Nithin, Ireland have been scratchy at T20s ever since that match in Sylhet. Despite what the rankings say, Ireland still have claims as the best ODI associate.

  • Ashiqur Rahman on March 13, 2016, 20:31 GMT

    There is a reason associate team dont get test status because of their cricketing structure. Bangladesh got it because at that time it has 150 million people who are avid supporter of the game. They took timt establish themselves and now they are in delivering stage. AFG, IRE, NETH etc are still far behind than that support of Bangladesh. They may win matches here and there like Kenya did till 2005 then they got smashed by Bangladesh in 2006. Its not first generation but the second generation counts. Lets see how those associate teams produce second generation players. Bangladesh right now have their 3rd and 4th generation players who came up through age level cricket. Litarally all of the memebers came from age level cricket.

  • Prahit on March 13, 2016, 17:54 GMT

    It's a shame that this game was reduced to a big joke. 6 overs ????? are you kidding me??? why could not ICC increase the overs in a day-night game. This is ridiculous stuff from ICC and BCCI

  • Amindha on March 13, 2016, 15:30 GMT

    These teams deservedmore game time.Just these 12 meagre overs were great to watch.

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