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Ireland Close In On 2015 World Cup Spot

William Porterfield hits in the air.
Ireland Close In On 2015 World Cup Spot

Ireland 236 (Porterfield 79) beat
Netherlands 148 (K O’Brien 4-13) by 88 runs
World Cricket League Championship, Amstelveen

Ireland are virtually assured of a place in the 2015 World Cup after comfortably beating the Netherlands in the first of two World Cricket League Championship matches in Amstelveen. 

William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien were the men who did the damage with the bat, adding 125 for the third-wicket, while the Dutch were then skittled for just 148 in their pursuit of Ireland’s 236.

Wesley Barresi was the only man to pass 50 as the home side lost regular wickets. Tim Murtagh removed Eric Szwarczynski in his second over before Stephan Myburgh and Barresi gave their side hope with a sprightly second-wicket stand of 55 in less than 10 overs.

However, the middle-order failed to support Barresi following Myburgh’s departure for 22. He was caught by Trent Johnston off Paul Stirling, who then had Michael Swart dismissed soon afterwards. Kevin O’Brien proved to be their unlikely destroyer, getting the key wickets of Tom Cooper (8) and finally dispatching Barresi to make it 99 for five. He also had Daan van Bunge (11) and Mudassar Bukhari caught to end with four for 13 from seven overs.

The Dutch were eventually all out for 148, with Alex Cusack having their captain Peter Borren caught by Porterfield for a run-a-ball 34 to end the game.

The home side had started well after losing the toss and being asked to field. Edgar Schiferli, recalled to the side at the age of 37 and playing his first international in more than three years, dispensed with Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce in his opening spell to make it 29 for two.

The Irish then showed their class through Porterfield and O’Brien. The former has been in terrible form for his county side Warwickshire so far this season, but he made 79, which along with O’Brien’s 70, led a recovery. The Netherlands bowlers, though, ensured that they kept the total in check by taking regular wickets throughout the final part of the innings.

Kevin O’Brien was the only man to get going, hitting 32 off 22 balls, following his elder brother’s run-out as Bukhari and Ahsan Malik each took three wickets in the closing overs to bowl them out for 236 - a total that would prove to be more than enough.

The win takes the Irish four points clear of Scotland at the top of the table, with only three successive defeats from their final three matches able to prevent them from finishing in the top two and qualifying for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The Netherlands, meanwhile, could do with winning the second game on Tuesday, otherwise their fate will be partly out of their hands.

© Cricket World 2013