Ireland came out with a renewed sense of vigour in today’s T20 international against Netherlands, but failed to hold the Dutch in a tight run chase at the VOB Ground in Rotterdam.
Gary Wilson, Ireland’s T20I team captain, called correctly at the toss for the second consecutive day, but this time elected to bat first under blue skies.
Openers Paul Stirling and James Shannon gave Ireland a perfect start, with a half-century opening stand in just under five overs. Shannon, playing in his fourth T20I, easily surpassed his previous highest T20I score of 5 runs and looked more dangerous than his formidable partner Stirling.
However, both openers went soon after. With the score on 58, Stirling was beaten by Dutch medium-paceman Fred Klaassen and was dismissed by 27 (16 balls; 5 x fours). Shannon (31 runs off 21 balls; 4 x fours, 1 x six) went in the following over after he leaned back on a cut shot but missed the ball which crashed into his stumps.
Yesterday’s batting hero Simi Singh had a brief but entertaining innings (13 runs off 10 balls; 2 x fours) and William Porterfield compiled a run-a-ball 20 (1 x four), but at 105-4 in the 14th over, Ireland needed someone to stick in to the end and ensure a competitive total was posted. That role fell to captain Gary Wilson who hit 45* (42 balls; 2 x fours, 1 x six) and saw Ireland through to a total of 158-6 off 20 overs.
While most of Netherlands’ bowlers performed well, the experienced 33-year old Roelof van der Merwe stood out taking 2-24 from his four overs, claiming the important wickets of Singh and the ever-threatening Kevin O’Brien (13 off 6 balls 1 x four, 1 x six).
With a target of 159 ahead of them, the Dutch openers Tobias Visee and Max O’Dowd got off to a positive start. 37 runs were scored in less than four overs, before Visee was beaten by George Dockrell and was dismissed for 25 (15 balls; 5 x fours). O’Dowd took the reins and hit his highest T20I score of 39 (24 balls; 5 x fours, 1 x six) before edging a Stuart Thompson delivery to keeper Stuart Poynter.
With the foundations set by the early, experienced heads in the middle order saw the Netherlands run chase to a successful conclusion. van der Merwe followed his good bowling display with an aggressive innings of 37 (26 balls; 3 x fours, 1 x six) and captain Pieter Seelaar followed up his score of 37 yesterday to compile a tidy 22* off 19 balls today, seeing his side through to reach the target with six balls to spare.
For Ireland, the spinners looked the more likely to take wickets and contain the runs, with Dockrell (2-30 off 4 overs) and Singh (1-23 off 4 overs) bowling well but in the end it wasn’t enough.
Netherlands have become a bogey team for Ireland, having now recorded wins in the two teams last five encounters in this format of the game. Ireland will have two days break and then head into a two matches against Scotland on 16 and 17 June 2018 in Deventer. The second of these matches will be livestreamed. Details are available here
2nd Match, Netherlands Tri-Nation T20I Series at Rotterdam, 13 June 2018
IRELAND 158-6 (20 overs; G Wilson 45*, J Shannon 31; R van der Merwe 2-24)
NETHERLANDS 159-6 (19 overs; M O’Dowd 39, R van der Merwe 37; G Dockrell 2-30, S Singh 1-23)
Netherlands won by 4 wickets