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By Shrikant Shankar
Mar 20, 2014
Ireland can book a spot in the ICC World T20 2014 Super 10s stage by victory over European rivals the Netherlands on Friday. The Group B qualifier clash in the T20 World Cup will be played at Sylhet. Ireland have two wins in two matches while the Netherlands have one loss and one victory. Ireland have their destiny in their own hands and that would be a big boost for them.
Before their tie begins, Zimbabwe would have already played their last match against United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the same venue. Zimbabwe lost to Ireland in their first match on the last ball. They then beat the Netherlands also on the last ball. Zimbabwe are stronger than UAE on paper and in every department, so, a victory can be expected in that clash for Brendan Taylor’s team. That puts the onus on William Porterfield’s Ireland, who have to win to ensure progress into the elite Super 10s as only one team can qualify from each group.
Ireland had players like George Dockrell and Andy McBrine took two wickets each against Zimbabwe as the Africans posted 163 for five. Ireland had all their main batsmen getting amongst the runs. Porterfield scored 31, Paul Stirling scored 61, Ed Joyce scored 22 and Kevin O’Brien scored 10-ball 17. They managed to win on the last ball. Ireland then cruised to a 21-run win over UAE via Duckworth-Lewis method in their second qualifier match.
O’Brien and Stirling got amongst the wickets with two each. Porterfield scored an unbeaten 33 and Joyce scored 43 runs as Ireland won comfortably. So, all their main players are in form and contributing to their success. Ireland have other good players as well who can cause the best of teams some problems on their day, so, they should be more than handful against the Netherlands. Ireland have only used a total of 12 players in their two matches so far. Unless injury hampers them, they should field a similar team in a crucial match.
The Netherlands won comfortably against UAE in their first match. Their main players like Stephan Myburgh, Michael Swart, Wesley Barresi and Tom Cooper starred in that win. They faced a much younger opposition in Zimbabwe in their second match and dragged the tie onto the last ball. Cooper and brother Ben batted well while Pieter Seelaar was the pick of the bowlers. The Netherlands are led by Peter Borren and he was an inspiration on the field as he took two brilliant catches.
Conditions will be similar to what we have seen at these venues in Bangladesh. The pitches will be slow and will offer more to the slower bowlers. Dew does take its course, but the match will get over before the sun sets completely. Overall, the Netherlands have some good players, especially the exports from Australia and New Zealand, but Ireland are a consistent side who have upset some very good teams in the past. On paper, Ireland look the stronger of the two, but in a T20 match one over can change course of the game. Ireland, though, have destiny in their own hands and that is incentive enough to win the match.
Ireland: William Porterfield (c), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Andrew Poynter, James Shannon, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.
Netherlands: Peter Borren (c), Wesley Barresi (wk), Ben Cooper, Tom Cooper, Mudassar Bukhari, Tom Heggelman, Ahsan Malik, Vivian Kingma, Stephan Myburgh, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar, Michael Swart, Eric Szwarczynski, Logan van Beek, Timm van der Gugten.
Time: 15:00 IST | 09:30 GMT
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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