Curtis Campher takes four wickets in four balls as Ireland beat Netherlands

The 22-year-old then hit winning run as Ireland got off to a perfect start at World T20

Ireland’s Curtis Campher (R) celebrates after taking the wicket of Netherland’s Scott Edwards during the World Twenty20 match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland’s Curtis Campher (R) celebrates after taking the wicket of Netherland’s Scott Edwards during the World Twenty20 match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images

 

Ireland 107-3 (Gareth Delany 44, Paul Stirling 30 not out; Fred Klaassen 1-18) beat the Netherlands 106 all out (Max O’Dowd 51; Curtis Campher 4-26, Mark Adair 3-9, Josh Little 1-14) by seven wickets.

It was fitting really that Curtis Campher was the one to hit the winning run as Ireland got their World T20 campaign off to the perfect start in Abu Dhabi with a dominant victory over the Netherlands.

Campher ended on seven not out, but it was with the ball where he made his mark, becoming just the third bowler in T20 international history to take four wickets in four balls during the first innings.

The YMCA all-rounder actually had a somewhat slow start to his spell, conceding 12 runs after a good powerplay from Ireland held the Netherlands to 25-2.

Captain Andrew Balbirnie was rewarded for keeping faith in Campher but even he could not have thought the move would pay off in such a historic manner - not that skipper didn’t try to claim some foresight.

“I think I can take credit for all four of those wickets in that over,” joked Balbirnie after the win.

“He (Campher) makes things happen every time he plays with bat or ball, even in the field. So he’s become a really, really important cricketer for us in all formats.”

The madness started when Colin Ackermann gloved a short delivery from Campher down the leg side for Neil Rock to pouch. What followed was a reward for bowling straight as Campher rattled the pads of Ryan ten Doeschate and Scott Edwards on consecutive deliveries, while Roelof van der Merwe dragged on a wide one to complete the set. It was a ridiculous over, to the point where those watching in the Irish dugout could only shrug their shoulders in amazement at what they had just witnessed.

Campher admitted after the game that adjusting his line was the key to his success: “I think after my first over when I bowled two or three balls with some width and they got crushed away for four, I knew I couldn’t bowl anywhere else besides straight. So that kind of worked our way.”

Ireland’s Paul Stirling plays a shot during the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Netherlands at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 18, 2021. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images
Ireland’s Paul Stirling plays a shot during the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Netherlands at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 18, 2021. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images

What little hope the Netherlands did have of setting a competitive total after that perished when Max O’Dowd departed for 51 after skying a Mark Adair slower ball to Harry Tector at long on.

Adair’s slower balls into the pitch coupled with Josh Little’s wide yorkers gave the Irish attack a variety that made scoring incredibly difficult for the Dutch at the death. Little said in the build-up that being economical was a way to win games in this format. He was not wrong, but it was his partner Adair who ended up with the cheapest Irish spell at a World T20.

Just for good measure, the Dutch were bowled out on the final ball of the innings for 106 - the first time Ireland have bowled a side out at this competition. The two run-outs on the scorecard combined with the variety of the attack ensured that this was the most complete Irish display in the field in recent memory.

The Netherlands responded reasonably well with the ball after clearly seeing something in the Adair-style tactic of bowling into the pitch. Kevin O’Brien and Balbirnie both departed to shorter deliveries - albeit both after contributing a series of boundaries.

Gareth Delany came into Monday’s game in form and continued to strike the ball cleanly. After a somewhat nervy start where he edged his first delivery just short of slip, a boundary off van der Merwe through the off side set the tone for his innings. He found the fence seven times in all, the highlight being a towering six over long-off, van der Merwe again the unsuspecting victim.

Delany did depart when a clever quicker ball from Dutch skipper Pieter Seelaar castled his off stump, but Paul Stirling remained unbeaten at the end, seemingly happy to play a risk-free innings that saw his side home.

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