Ireland's struggles continue
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
IRELAND head home winless from another World Twenty20 tournament after a game that summed up their struggles in the shortest format for the last two years.
It was history repeating itself as the Netherlands defeated Ireland for the second successive time in their final group game and although the victory margin was only 12 runs, it was another humiliating loss for William Porterfield’s side.
More rain in Dharamsala reduced the game to the lottery of six overs a side but thanks to George Dockrell, who bowled his two overs for just seven runs and took three wickets, the Dutch were restricted to 59 for five.
Ireland’s reply got off to the perfect start and after two overs were almost halfway to their target on 28 for one, with Paul Stirling 15 not out, including two sixes.
But when Kevin O’Brien pulled his second ball to deep mid-wicket, only for Peter Seelaar to produce a stunning, diving catch and Stirling uppercut the next delivery to short thirdman, Ireland could score only 19 runs from the last four overs and hit only one boundary
Porterfield claimed the game “was won” after those first two overs.
“We needed 32 off 24 balls with nine wickets in hand, I don’t care what the pitch was like, we should be taking that home, 10 times out of 10,” said the captain.
“But we have no excuses, we weren’t good enough over the week. We were beaten in the first match (against Oman) by the better team on the day. We didn’t execute anything well and then we were sloppy the other day (against Bangladesh) and that transgressed into today. Why? I don’t know.”
The fact that Porterfield thought the match was won despite losing those wickets in successive balls in the third over can be the only explanation for sending in Gary Wilson and then Niall O’Brien ahead of hitters like Max Sorensen or Andrew Poynter and the inventive Andy McBrine. As it was, O’Brien senior finished four not out from eight balls - and that is not what is required in T20 cricket.