Ireland boosted by influx of County players for key qualifiers
World Cup place could be sealed in Amsterdam in the coming days
Ireland opening batsman Paul Stirling celebrates his century against Australia ‘A’ at Stormont. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye
After a comprehensive victory over the Netherlands in their Intercontinental Cup clash inside three days, Ireland now go in search of a place at the 2015 World Cup as they take in two One-Day Internationals, the first of which takes place at Amstelveen in Amsterdam tomorrow morning.
The squad moved north from Deventer yesterday and have been boosted by the arrival of six of their County-based players.
Paul Stirling is amongst them and it was his stunning knock of 101 off 72 balls that secured a victory for Ireland the last time these sides met, at the World Cup in Kolkata.
The Dutch are without their star batsman from that game, with Ryan ten Doeschate remaining with Essex, while they have also been hit by the loss of Alexei Kervezee, who has ended his international career to concentrate on his County commitments with Worcestershire.
Stirling’s recent form includes a century in the tied ODI against Pakistan in Dublin and also one against a strong Australia ‘A’ bowling line-up in a four-day game at Stormont.
Spin could well be key at the VRA ground, just as it was in the last meeting between the sides there in 2010, when Stirling and George Dockrell each took four wickets to help bowl out the Dutch for 138 and defend a low total of 177.
One win is likely to be enough to see Ireland qualify, while a second victory on Tuesday would rubber-stamp a third World Cup appearance in a row with two games to spare.