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Another narrow win

Ireland Men cap tri-series victory with win over Netherlands Men

The Hague, Netherlands – Ireland Men pulled off a dramatic victory over the Netherlands Men’s team in their final match of the tri-series also featuring Scotland thanks to remarkable death bowling from Craig Young.

The Ireland seamer successfully defended 11 from the final over, picking up a wicket and restricting the hosts to just seven runs to seal a win by three runs.

Ireland had already won the series by beating Netherlands and Scotland in their previous two matches, with a second meeting also washed out against the Scots.

They delivered a clean sweep at Voorburg Cricket Club, despite the Netherlands looking like they would coast to a comfortable victory at the back end of their pursuit of 162 runs.

It was the third match in succession that Ireland clinched glory in the final over and second out of three which went to the very last ball, wrapping up a thrilling tri-series.

Put into bat first at the toss, Ireland skipper Paul Stirling raced out the traps despite losing fellow opener Andrew Balbirnie early on.

Stirling played with trademark aggression against the new ball, making 36 from 26 in an innings that included four fours and one six before falling to Paul van Meekeren at the end of the 10th over.

By the midway point, Ireland were 57-4, with scoring becoming difficult in Voorburg.

Curtis Campher and George Dockrell remained patient, though, building a critical 62-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

Campher eventually departed for 37 and, with the foundation built, Dockrell accelerated at the end of the innings to take Ireland to 161-6 from their 20 overs after scoring 98 from the last 60 balls of their innings.

Dockrell’s 53 off just 30 balls was just his second ever fifty in T20Is, with the 31-year-old all-rounder going past the landmark with two successive sixes in the final over.

In response, the hosts clearly took a leaf out of Campher and Dockrell’s book.

The opening partnership of Michael Levitt (39) and Max O’Dowd (60) built a steady 67-run stand that frustrated the Irish bowlers until Gareth Delany struck in the ninth over with the wicket of Levitt.

Young was the man to eventually put an end to O’Dowd’s fine knock and, at 123-2, Netherlands looked to be almost home and dry despite losing their top-scorer.

Ireland, however, never stopped believing and, the pairing of Young (2-35) and Mark Adair (2-21) were inspired as they pegged Netherlands back to 143-4 with two overs to go.

That left them requiring 19 from 12 balls. Making his 100th appearance for Ireland, Barry McCarthy’s penultimate over went for eight, leaving Young to defend 11 from the final six deliveries.

He duly delivered an exhibition in exceptional death bowling to send Ireland to next month’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup looking in fine fettle.

Ireland’s next fixture is on Friday, 31 May against Sri Lanka at Florida’s Central Broward Park.

That is their sole warm-up fixture before Ireland face India in their 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup opener on Wednesday, 5 June.


Ireland v Netherlands, Voorburg CC, The Hague, Netherlands — 24 May 2024

Ireland 161-6 (20 overs; G Dockrell 53*, C Campher 37, P Stirling 36; L v Beek 2-26, P v Meekeren 2-34, B d Leede 2-43) 

Netherlands 158-5 (20 overs; M O’Dowd 60, M Levitt 39; M Adair 2-21, C Young 2-35, G Delany 1-28)

Ireland won by three runs 

See full scorecard