Netherlands (ten Doeschate 43*, Cooper 37, Young 2-39) defeated Ireland 137-9 (Stirling 29, Seelaar 3-17, van der Merwe 2-19, Klaassen 2-32) by 21 runs

The Netherlands continued their charge for the T20 World Cup Qualifier trophy, beating Ireland in the 1st semi-final with an unbeaten 56-run partnership from Ryan ten Doeschate and Roelof van der Merwe swinging the match in their favour.

Irish captain Gary Wilson won the toss and elected to bowl on a Dubai wicket that had been prepared with the remaining four matches of the tournament in mind. Watered heavily, the deck caused a few early headaches as Dutch opener Max O’Dowd survived a scare from Mark Adair’s first delivery, kicking up off the surface.

As O’Dowd fell to Craig Young, opening partner Ben Cooper and skipper Pieter Seelaar provided the Dutch a platform, even if the pair lamented their sluggish start in tricky conditions. Seelaar fell to Boyd Rankin for 21 gloving a short ball to Wilson, while Gareth Delany claimed Cooper for 37, with the score 102-4 at the end of the 15th over.

Van der Merwe joined ten Doeschate, and despite the miserly opposition of Boyd Rankin in the 16th over, the pair amassed 56 runs in the final five overs. Overs 17, 18 and 20 all went for 11 runs, with the 19th over of Craig Young going for 19. Ten Doeschate deposited the fifth and sixth balls into the stands, gifted balls in the slot which he hit over long-on and mid-wicket. Jumping to 158 appeared to be a score 10 to 20 runs over par, as skipper Seelaar and Dutch coach Ryan Campbell looked confident with the runs on the board.

The Dutch let their stranglehold of the match slip a little with some lackadaisical fielding, though their fortunes changed at the end of the 7th over, with the dismissal of Kevin O’Brien. Down the track to van der Merwe, O’Brien, stuck in two minds, almost bunted a catch to Ben Cooper at long-off.

O’Brien’s opening partner Paul Stirling also fell to the canny left-arm orthodox of van der Merwe, undone by one that went with the arm. Rocking back on the cut, Stirling found no width, as his off-stump was disturbed.

The Netherlands’ Roelof van der Merwe removes Paul Stirling. (ICC)

Stabilising through Gareth Delany and Andy Balbirnie, Ireland pushed their case for victory at 82-2 from 12 overs. Fred Klaassen was thrown the ball, and the decision was rewarded, with two wickets in two balls. An off-speed delivery undid Delany who found Timm van der Gugten in the deep, and Balbirnie was punished for exposing his stumps, bowled attempting a sweep shuffling across.

Seelaar, who has managed both bowling and captaincy roles well at the Qualifier, continued to press with aplomb on both fronts. Pressing with spin at both ends, he removed Wilson, Mark Adair and Harry Tector within two overs of his spell, and finished with figures of 3-17.

Roelof van der Merwe was crowned Player of the Match (ICC)

The pace pairing of Paul van Meekeren and Brandon Glover removed Stuart Thompson and Craig Young respectively, and put the match beyond doubt, before a late flurry from George Dockrell made the scoreboard look a little more respectable for the Irish. Winning by 21 runs, the Dutch will now take on PNG for the T20 World Cup Qualifier trophy.

A scorecard of the match can be found here.

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