ECC European Championship July 21, 2004

Johnston's allround skills seal Irish win

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Ireland 181 for 9 (Johnston 49, White 40) beat Holland 171 for 8 (van Bunge 50, Johnston 3-44) by 10 runs at Utrecht

In a thrilling encounter at Utrecht, Ireland beat Holland by 10 runs in another rain-affected match to draw level with Scotland and Holland on the points table. The ECB XI are two points clear at the top, but they still have Scotland and Holland to play, meaning the championship is still wide open. The Irish victory was set up by a superb allround performance by man-of-the-match Trent Johnston, who hit a rapid 49 from 30 balls, then took 3 for 44 as Holland fell just short of their target.

Persistent rain delayed the start of the match for some time, and when play did start Ireland got off to a poor start, losing Jeremy Bray (8) and Jason Molins (13), who has just recovered from a hamstring injury, in quick succession. Andre Botha was run-out for 24 after some excellent fielding on the boundary, but Andrew White and Trent Johnston swung the match firmly back into Ireland's favour with their aggressive batting.

Johnston's innings included a clutch of sixes, but he fell one short of his half-century when he was caught by Tom de Grooth off the bowling of Tim de Leede. White also fell short of his milestone, caught and bowled by Luuk van Troost for 40. Kyle McCallan was run out for 12 after he attempted a single to a misfield, and JJ Esmeijer took two wickets in the last three balls, as Ireland finished on 181 for 9 after their 31 overs.

Naseer Shaukat, who took 5 for 30 in Holland's second innings in Ireland's Intercontinental Cup victory prior to the championship, immediately put Holland on the back foot again here, removing Tom de Grooth early, caught behind by Steve Ogilby.

Darron Reekers was then bowled by Botha for 17, but Daan van Bunge and Bas Zuiderent fought back, taking Holland to 100 for 20 after 20 overs. Then came the vital breakthrough as Johnston bowled van Bunge for 50. In the next over Paul Mooney had Zuiderent caught by Molins for 36, and despite good innings from de Leede and Edgar Schiferli, two wickets each to Johnston and Gordon Cooke kept Holland in check, and Ireland squeezed home.