|European A Championship: Netherlands, August 2009|
Kidd bowls Ireland to victory as Dutch batting implodes
Irelandís left-arm spinner Gary Kidd produced a sensational five-over spell in Rotterdam on Wednesday, taking eight for 15 in just 29 deliveries to bowl The Netherlands out for 80 in a rain-affected match and set up a comfortable nine-wicket victory for the Irish.
With spatters of rain already in the air and more substantial showers threatening later, it was a bold move by Eric Szwarczynski, who having won the toss for the Dutch, elected to bat first, and it seemed to have backfired when Andy Britton had both openers back in the pavilion with just 6 runs on the board.
Szwarczynski himself and Peter Borren set about rebuilding the innings, and they had reached 21 after ten overs when increasingly heavy rain drove the players from the field. It was a quarter to five by the time the game could resume, and this meant it was reduced to 25 overs per side.
This was a clear disadvantage to the Dutch, and they needed to bat extremely well in the 15 overs remaining to them. In fact, though, they batted poorly, although they were restricted by accurate Irish bowling backed up by some tigerish fielding.
Szwarczynski and Borren extended their partnership to 48 and the total to 54 before Kidd came into the attack, and he struck almost immediately when Borren pulled him over square leg and into the hands of George Dockrell on the boundary. Szwarczynski, on 30, followed in his next over, in which the spinner also removed Atse Buurman and Jelte Schoonheim with succcessive deliveries.
That made it 59 for six, and although Tim Gruijters and especially Jeroen Brand resisted for a while, they ultimately became Kiddís fifth and sixth victims, and then he cleaned up the innings by having first Mark Jonkman and then Berend Westdijk stumped by Fintan McAllister in the space of three deliveries.
A Duckworth/Lewis calculation added two to the Irish target, so they began their 25 overs needing 83 to win.
Mark Jonkman struck early, removing Andrew Balbirnie with the total on 3, but that was to be the last Dutch success.
Reinhardt Strydom combined solid defence with some powerful attacking strokes, while Paul Stirling was generally content to push singles and rotate the strike. Geert Maarten Mol again bowled well, conceding only 15 runs in his five overs, but the Dutch attack was largely unable to create any real pressure, and the Irish batsmen gradually began to play with greater freedom.
Stirling hit Lesley Stokkers back over his head for six, and in the 18th over Strydom struck an even bigger blow over long off, landing on the clubhouse balcony to win the match.
Such rain-disrupted matches always leave us with a host of might-have-beens, but this was a game in which the Irish were always on top, and Kiddís eight-wicket haul will undoubtedly be one of the finest individual performances of the tournament.