George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo
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If the rest of the ICC World Twenty20 is going to be as eventful as the warm-up game between Ireland and Netherlands it will be a thrilling tournament. The handful of fans who turned up at Lord's, and there weren't many, were witness to a tie and then a one-over eliminator after which Ireland finally clinched victory by four runs.
Ireland succeeded despite Dirk Nannes' best efforts. The Netherlands fast bowler was hostile in all his spells: his first three overs were extremely economical and did not allow Ireland to accelerate during the Powerplay, his last over broke Ireland's momentum as they pushed towards the target, and his bowling during the one-over eliminator was magnificent. Nannes' pace and bounce was too hot for Ireland's batsmen and he conceded only three runs off the bat in the one-over eliminator, while Ireland managed three more through extras.
Netherlands needed only seven in the eliminator to win the game, and then five from five balls, but Trent Johnston held his nerve. Concentrating on keeping the ball full, he had Bas Zuiderent stumped off the third ball and ran out Darron Reekers off the next to end the Netherlands innings.
"It was always going to be Trent," the Ireland captain, William Porterfield, said. "I never entertained picking anyone else. He has a vast amount of experience, and he can mix it up pretty well varying his pace, as was shown with a few slower balls. He loves the big stage and they don't come any bigger than Lord's. He bowled his original four-over spell pretty well, and hit the blockhole. He knew where he wanted to put the ball, and executed it to perfection."
The match went down to a one-over eliminator after Ireland fell one run short of the target of 136. They required nine off the final over, bowled by Pieter Seelar, and then needed two off the last two balls but could manage only one. It was Nannes' last over, however, which prevented Ireland from securing victory within the standard 20 overs. Ireland needed only 30 off the last four overs but Nannes, who plays for Victoria and the IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils, conceded three and took the wicket of Trent Johnston, who skied a pull, to make Ireland's task tougher.
Ireland's bowlers had put in a collective performance earlier in the afternoon to restrict Netherlands to 135 for 9. They did not experiment much with their bowling attack, using only five bowlers, but they got the job done. Their new ball bowlers made the first incisions into the Netherlands batting line-up and the support bowlers ensured that the innings was devoid of sustained momentum by striking at regular intervals.
Netherlands had accelerated to 45 for 2 after the Powerplay but Ireland's bowlers pulled them back after the fielding restrictions were lifted. Johnston, who was first change, bowled four economical overs, keeping the pressure up while the bowler struck at the other end.
Regan West tied Reekers down with his left-arm spin before slipping a faster one past the batsman's attempted cut. The Netherlands batsmen struggled to time the ball initially against the slower bowlers - West and the offspinner Kyle McCallan - and managed to score only 66 off the first ten overs.
A few Netherlands batsmen played cameos - Peter Borren ruined McCallan's economy-rate by hitting him for sixes over midwicket and down the ground - and Ryan ten Doeschate's 29 was the highest score - an indication that no batsman stuck around long enough to cause Ireland significant damage. And just when Netherlands were thinking of a late surge, McCallan struck twice in two balls - removing ten Doeschate and Edgar Schiferli - to finish with 3 for 32.
Unlike the Netherlands, Ireland's batsmen struggled to score during the Powerplay. Nannes and Schiferli bowled a difficult length and while Nannes was extremely economical, Schiferli picked up two early wickets. Ireland had reached only 29 for 2 after the first six overs but they were steadied by Andre Botha and Paul Stirling, who added 55 for the third wicket and gave their team a chance, which the rest of the batsmen duly took.