Netherlands v Ireland, Rotterdam, 1st day July 9, 2008

Botha gives Ireland advantage

Cricinfo staff

Ireland 226 for 4 (Botha 103*, K O'Brien 79) v Netherlands

Andre Botha's century meant Ireland took the honours on a rain-shortened opening day against Netherlands in Rotterdam. His unbeaten 103 guided Ireland to 226 for 4 at the close after adding 159 with Kevin O'Brien.

The early pace was set by the home side as Mudassar Bukhari caused the damage to leave Ireland on 25 for 3. Bukhari took advantage of Jeroen Smit's decision to field first, but Netherlands couldn't ram home their position.

Botha and O'Brien are two of Ireland's most experienced players in a team that has lost a number of key individuals to county commitments and retirements. Botha needed all his experience to weather the early troubles, but slowly began to expand as conditions eased.

He struck 15 boundaries in the course of his fourth first-class century, which he reached shortly before the rain arrived. O'Brien showed he has recovered well from a recent hamstring injury, and hit 12 fours and two sixes in his innings until falling to the left-arm spin of Pieter Seelaar.

Ireland must keep pushing for victory in this match if they want to keep the pressure on Namibia and Kenya who are ahead of them in the table.