Netherlands 158 for 4 (ten Doeschate 43*, Cooper 37, Young 2-39) beat Ireland 137 for 9 (Stirling 29, Seelaar 3-17, van der Merwe 2-19, Klaassen 2-32) by 21 runs
Ever since that magical night in Sylhet in 2014, Ireland have never been able to find an answer to break the Netherlands stranglehold over them at ICC T20 tournaments. The Dutch made sure that impressive streak continued on Friday afternoon with a 21-run win at Dubai International Stadium. Netherlands now await the winner of the second semi-final between Papua New Guinea and Namibia to find out who they will play for the tournament title on Saturday night.
Ryan ten Doeschate and Roelof van der Merwe tag-teamed with a crucial 56-run stand across the final five overs of the first innings. Van der Merwe then provided another key spark in the field, getting the opening duo of Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling in consecutive overs, coming on straight after the Powerplay, before Fred Klaassen struck a pair of key blows off consecutive deliveries in the 13th over to derail the Ireland chase, triggering a collapse from 84 for 2 to lose 7 for 24.
Ireland captain Gary Wilson chose to send Netherlands in on what he later described as a spongy wicket that had been watered significantly with four matches to come on it over the next two days. His bowlers backed up the decision over the initial three-quarters of the innings as the Dutch maneuvered methodically to 102 for 4.
Craig Young tied down the Dutch in the Powerplay, getting Max O'Dowd edging to backward point in the fourth before bowling Colin Ackermann with a yorker in the sixth to make it 27 for 2. Pieter Seelaar grafted with Ben Cooper in an effort to push the innings along but the pair struggled to generate momentum. Seelaar gloved a short ball from Boyd Rankin through to Wilson for 21 off 22 balls in the 12th before Cooper was caught on the crease to a skiddy topspinner from Gareth Delany to be bowled for 37 on the last ball of the 15th.
At that stage, Netherlands had only scored seven boundaries. But they more than doubled that across the final quarter of the innings through the experienced County duo of ten Doeschate and van der Merwe. The pair punished Ireland as well for some sloppy fielding across the final stages that contributed to their rally as ten Doeschate drove over long-on and pulled over midwicket for a pair of sixes off Young to spoil his figures at the end of a 19-run 19th over. Another 11 came off the 20th to push the Dutch past 150.
Ireland's chase benefited from some equally haphazard fielding from the Dutch early in the replay. Both Stirling and O'Brien were put down off Klaassen on 22 and 10 respectively in the fifth over. O'Brien rubbed salt into the wound in the sixth with two boundaries off Paul van Meekeren.
But van der Merwe cemented his case for Man of the Match at the conclusion of the Powerplay when he induced a false drive from O'Brien to long-off at the end of the seventh. He was on a hat-trick after striking with an arm ball to start the ninth that defeated Stirling's attempted cut to knock back off stump. Still, Ireland had a solid platform at 57 for 2 and Delany confidently charged van der Merwe to drive straight for six in the 11th.
After being luckless in the Powerplay, Klaassen returned in the 13th to begin dismantling the Irish middle order. A cutter produced a miscue by Delany to long-on before Andy Balbirnie went too far across his stumps trying to paddle the left-arm quick through fine leg and instead was bowled behind his legs with a leg-stump yorker.
Seelaar capitalised on Klaassen's double-strike by bowling Wilson to end the 14th before he became the third Dutch bowler to be on a hat-trick in the match when he claimed Mark Adair and Harry Tector off consecutive balls in the 16th, both caught slogging on the boundary. From 82 for 2, Ireland were suddenly out of the game at 95 for 7.
Van Meekeren and Brandon Glover took a tail-end wicket each to make it 108 for 9 before George Dockrell and Boyd Rankin gave a cosmetic adjustment to the scorecard with an unbroken 29-run stand. The result is now the fourth ICC T20 tournament in a row in which Netherlands have beaten Ireland. It includes wins in the opening rounds of the T20 World Cup in 2014 and 2016 plus the T20 World Cup Qualifier semi-final at Malahide in 2015.