Netherlands 129 for 5 (Cooper 43, Borren 36*, K O'Brien 3-26) beat Ireland 128 (K O'Brien 33, Bukhari 4-28) by 5 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
'Hitting the deck worked for us' - Bukhari
Mudassar Bukhari talks his career best T20 performance and about Netherlands' win over Ireland in the semi-final of the ICC World T20 qualifier
A short-pitched barrage from an energised Netherlands bowling attack ran through Ireland's struggling batting unit to dismiss them for 128, to set up a five-wicket win in Malahide. Mudassar Bukhari laid the foundation by removing the openers before coming back for two more wickets to finish with a career-best 4 for 28 which put Netherlands in the final, against Scotland, for the first time since 2008 when the tournament was also held in Ireland.
The loss keeps Ireland out of the final for the first time in the tournament's history. They split the 2008 title with Netherlands and were runners-up to Afghanistan in 2010 before back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Instead, Ireland now heads to the third-place match on Sunday against Hong Kong.
Netherlands captain Peter Borren sent Ireland in and had them under pressure early. William Porterfield's wicket was a harbinger of things to come as he skied an attempted pull off Bukhari for 4. Two overs later, Paul Stirling drove a full delivery from Bukhari straight to mid-on for 18, to make it 26 for 2 in the fifth over.
Andy Balbirnie and Gary Wilson, promoted up to No. 4 ahead of Kevin O'Brien, added 44 for the third wicket, playing with relative freedom against the spin duo of Roelof van der Merwe and Pieter Seelaar. It took the intervention of Paul van Meekeren, recalled for his third game of the tournament in place of Michael Rippon, to break the stand and his 2 for 14 played a vital supporting role to Bukhari.
Seeing Balbirnie walk down the pitch, van Meekeren dragged back the length and a pull was top-edged to wicketkeeper Wesley Barresi for a run-a-ball 31. Wilson was the only batsman to fall to spin on the day, going three overs later after walking through a flick against van der Merwe to have his stumps knocked back.
Ireland still held reasonable hopes of getting past 140 with Kevin O'Brien at the crease. The allrounder smashed Seelaar out of the attack with back-to-back sixes in the 16th over, but six balls later he was hurried by van Meekeren trying to hook and was caught at long leg for 33. Netherlands made it two in two when John Mooney's attempted glide off Timm van der Gugten went to short third man to start the 18th over on 112 for 6. It sparked a slide for the final six wickets for just 16 runs.
Stuart Poynter fell in identical fashion to O'Brien, to give Bukhari his third wicket before Stuart Thompson smashed one to deep midwicket only three balls later.
George Dockrell was dropped at the start of the last over bowled by van der Gugten as van der Merwe parried a chance for six at the midwicket boundary. But the short-ball strategy was successful later in the over as Dockrell skied a catch to Borren at mid-on. Alex Cusack was run out with one ball to go in the innings after a miscommunication with Craig Young, to round out the innings.
Netherlands' reply was shaky early on with Stephan Myburgh chopping Young onto his stumps in the second over before Barresi was dropped by Young at short fine leg, and then caught at mid-off on the following delivery to end the third over at 16 for 2. But Ben Cooper and Swart wrested back control for Netherlands with a 57-run stand in 8.1 overs.
Ireland's efforts to restrict Netherlands were hampered without Stirling, who aggravated a calf strain and was unable to field or bowl. Cooper and Swart milked singles in the middle overs where Stirling had been effective in tying down Namibia and Jersey during the group stage. Mooney's Midas touch with the ball also went missing at a key time. The allrounder went wicketless for the first time in the tournament after entering the contest tied for the overall lead with 14 scalps.
O'Brien continued his solid tournament with the ball by getting Swart to drive to long-on for 21 before Cooper lofted a full toss to Dockrell at the point boundary for 43, to make it 84 for 4 in the 14th over.
Ireland may still have had hopes of an improbable turnaround at the start of the 17th over with the visitors needing 31 from 24, but Max O'Dowd and Borren stole 16 off Dockrell's over. O'Dowd drove a six down the ground off the second ball before Borren finished the over with back-to-back sweeps over fine leg to bring the required rate under a run a ball.
O'Brien got O'Dowd for his third wicket in the 18th over, caught for 17 with Dockrell running in from deep midwicket, but Netherlands' victory was inevitable by that stage and Borren saw his team home clipping for his fourth four, through fine leg off Mooney to seal the win with 11 balls to spare.