Ireland’s cricketers qualify for World Cup in style
In an amazing ending , Dutch number 10 Michael Rippon clubbed the last ball from John Mooney to the long-on boundary for six to secure the tie
Ireland’s Paul Stirling in action against the Netherlands. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho
Ireland’s cricketers guaranteed another million euro payday here in the City of Diamonds yesterday after a thrilling tie with the Netherlands, the point earned guaranteeing both a place in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the title of ICC World Cricket League champions.
That was only part of the story in an amazing ending as Dutch number 10 Michael Rippon clubbed the last ball from John Mooney to the long-on boundary for six to secure the tie and keep alive their hopes of joining Ireland and grabbing the second automatic qualification spot.
Mooney’s decision to bowl slower-ball bouncers in the final over was a risky one, although Ireland did run out Edgar Schiferli, meaning they took a wicket in each of the last four overs to drag back a position that looked lost when Tom Cooper and Dutch skipper Peter Borren were at the wicket and needing just 42 off six overs with five wickets in hand.
After no run came off the third ball of the final over, Rippon took a two and hit a four to leave Ireland six runs ahead and meaning barring a wide or a no ball, Ireland were through to the World Cup. The six secured a valuable tie, Ireland’s second in the last four One Day Internationals following the first game against Pakistan in Clontarf at the end of May.
To qualify for a third straight 50 overs World Cup is a huge achievement, even more so because Ireland have done it with two games to spare and almost 20 months before the event gets under way.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom flew in for yesterday’s game and was quick to praise the players for yet again raising the bar at Associate level, a term that you can only apply in the strict International Cricket Council sense of describing second-tier cricketing nations. This golden generation of Irish cricketers are simply miles ahead of the rest.
Yesterday they were utterly professional, summed up by skipper William Porterfield running out Michael Swart for one with a stunning pick up and throw off balance and his wonderful diving catch to dismiss Cooper for 16.
Deutrom confirmed that the players and the coaching staff will share in Ireland’s financial success yet again as they did in 2011, although having qualified ahead of time, the amount hasn’t been decided yet.
“We don’t qualify for events, our view is we come first in events,” was how Deutrom explained the mindset that flows down from the senior team.
“And by coming first the financial awards come,” he added.
“We’ve got to the stage whereby qualifying for a World Cup is not the endgame, it is succeeding at a World Cup. We’ve established the benchmark now, it’s not about being just getting there and slapping ourselves on the back, it’s about competing properly at a World Cup.
“It’s about setting targets that say right we should be aiming for a quarter-final or a semi-final, not just being there and hoping for the best and knocking over a couple of scalps. That isn’t what we do any more.”
Ireland will have to wait to find out who their opponents will be come 2015, with a final round of qualifying games to come in the World Cricket League in September, and a further qualification competition for the final two spots in New Zealand taking place in New Zealand early next year.
It’s something that Ireland won’t have to worry about. They have qualified in style and with no little drama along the way.