Ireland put one foot on the plane to 2015 World Cup in Amsterdam
Comprehensive 88-run win sees Phil Simmons’s side on verge of third straight appearance in finals
Ireland captain William Porterfield and Netherlands captain Peter Borren with the ICC World Cricket League Championship Trophy. Photogrpah: Rowland White/Inpho
Ireland put one foot on the plane to Australia and New Zealand in Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon as they comprehensively saw off the challenge of the Netherlands in the first of the two 2015 World Cup qualifiers to win by 88 runs.
It was a performance fitting of the highest stage as Ireland defended their total of 236, a score that in the end was far too much on a stodg y wicket at the beautiful VRA grounds in Amstelveen.
The result sees Ireland regain their four-point lead over Scotland at the top of the table, with Tuesday’s second fixture against the Dutch still to come. A win in that game will see Phil Simmons’s side qualify with two games to spare, and earn a third straight appearance in a 50-over World Cup, an incredible achievement by a team that just keeps raising the bar of Associate cricket.
In fact with Ireland’s net run rate being so far ahead of the rest, supporters would be wise to start saving straight away.
Setting the tone in the field from the start, Ireland were in the Dutch team’s faces with some excellent ground fielding, twice uprooting stumps with direct hits to keep the home side on their toes.
And Kevin O’Brien was to prove the hero for Ireland with the ball, bowling full and with plenty of variety to record figures of four for 13 in seven overs, his best in a One-Day Intrnational.
Included in that haul were both top scorer Wesley Barresi, thanks to a wonderful caught and bowled, and top Dutch batsman Tom Cooper, who holed out to John Mooney on the square leg boundary.
Only Trent Johnston missed out in the wickets column, with the other six bowlers used striking: Paul Stirling also chipping in with two of the top five batsmen in the Dutch line-up.
After winning the toss on a glorious sunny morning where the only clouds in the sky were from the vapour trails of the planes descending into nearby Schipol Airport, Ireland got over a stuttering start thanks to a great third-wicket stand of 125 between skipper William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien.
The two left handers staged a fine recovery after Stirling (one) and Ed Joyce (22) both departed to Edgar Schiferli, who was making his return to international cricket after a four-year absence.
The big outfield at the Amstelveen ground and a wicket that never allowed batsmen to feel totally comfortable meant that application and patience was the order of the day.