Joyce delivers as Ireland reach final goal
Tied match with Netherlands puts Phil Simmons’ side into 2015 World Cup
Wesley Barresi of the Netherlands attempts to stump Ireland’s Niall O’Brien in yesterday’s exciting tied game. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho
Standing with a paper cup of beer in one hand and a tennis ball in the other, Ireland coach Phil Simmons looked his usual chilled self in the aftermath of yesterday’s thrilling tied match against the Netherlands that guaranteed his side a place in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
In the end Ireland pulled back a game that looked lost with five overs to go to a point that they looked like winning it with three balls to go, before Michael Rippon hit a two and a four off John Mooney to leave Ireland in a no-lose situation once the North County all-rounder did not bowl a wide or no-ball.
Bowling slow bouncers throughout the final over, Rippon somehow was able to lever Mooney’s final delivery over the long-on boundary for the six that sealed the tie that kept Dutch hopes alive of claiming the second automatic qualifying position for 2015.
Incredibly, it meant that it was a second tie for Ireland in their last four One-Day Internationals, a long-odds outcome much like Rippon’s ripper of a shot at the death.
Delighted to have qualified with so much time in hand, Simmons made it known that he is hoping these ties don’t bind.
“I’m not getting the hang of the ties, but World Cup qualifying is great,” admitted Simmons in front of the VRA Pavilion as both sets of players shared a cold beer.
“I don’t think we’ve talked too much about qualifying, we just thought about winning the competition today and we knew that if we got two points today we would win the competition and put another trophy in the cabinet so that’s how we were looking at it this morning.”
In the end one point was enough after Ireland made 268 for five from their 50 overs having won the toss for the second time in the series.
Skipper William Porterfield had no hesitation in batting first on a new strip that promised more runs than Sunday’s slower track, but Ireland fell short of what looked like a score of 300 at one stage after struggling to really impose themselves late on in the innings.
Yet again it was Ed Joyce’s class that shone through on a glorious afternoon in Amsterdam, with the Sussex skipper in full flow as he kept the scoreboard ticking along.
Porterfield (30) and Paul Stirling (49) had got the ball rolling with a 73-run opening stand, but both went to sloppy shots, before Joyce was joined by Niall O’Brien in the key partnership of the innings, and indeed the day.
The two left-handers put on 113 for the third wicket before O’Brien was bowled for 50, his second in three days, but Joyce ploughed on and looked set for a second ODI century in recent times following his stunning knock against Pakistan at Clontarf.
In the end he was denied, falling four short after Trent Johnston turned down his call for a second run to retain the strike for the final ball, although the former Ireland captain wasn’t hanging around with his unbeaten 21 coming from just 15 balls, including two from the final ball from Mudassar Bukhari.
Knowing that they needed something from the game to keep their qualification chances on the front foot, the Netherlands also got off to a flyer through Stephan Myburgh (35) and Eric Szwarczynski (44), but both were bowled by Stirling’s off-spin after they were well set, something that was to afflict the Dutch chase throughout.
Wrest back momentum
They were always up with the rate though, and it took two outstanding pieces of fielding from Porterfield to wrest back momentum.
Firstly he brilliantly ran out Michael Swart during a mini-Dutch collapse, throwing off balance after a lightning pick up, with Gary Wilson uprooting the stump to finish off the double act.
His second looked like being even more key, when his brilliant diving catch at midwicket off Kevin O’Brien removing dangerman Tom Cooper for 38 off the penultimate ball of the 48th over.
It was the midpoint of a dramatic endgame that had seen Joyce spill a chance to catch Peter Borren over the boundary for six before taking him next ball off Kevin O’Brien, who finished with three wickets for 72 to make it seven in the two games.
Bukhari holed out to Cusack in a penultimate over that went for just three runs, leaving the Dutch needing 13 off the last six deliveries from Mooney.
Edgar Schiferli was run out off the second ball, leaving the last-wicket pair together.
Crucially Rippon was on strike, and when it came to the last ball, a six was only good enough for a tie.