O'Brien ensures Ireland's ICC WT20 qualifying hopes stay alive

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 3:50 PM

O'Brien ensures Ireland's ICC WT20 qualifying hopes stay alive
Tim Anderson presents Kevin O'Brien with the player of the match award
Ireland inched closer to its target of joining Afghanistan in the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 when it beat Netherlands by seven wickets in the Preliminary Final of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2012 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium (DICS) on Friday.

In front of its loyal travelling supporters, Ireland's bowlers combined to dismiss Netherlands for a meagre 114-7 in 20 overs in an innings that included a spectacular catch by Ireland captain William Porterfield to dismiss opener Stephan Myburgh for two after the 28-year-old skied a ball delivered by Trent Johnston.

Kevin O'Brien proved key again, despite being Ireland's sixth bowler today, when the bustling all-rounder claimed the wickets of Tom Cooper and Mudassar Bukhari, while off-spinner George Dockrell participated with a nifty caught and bowled to dismiss Netherlands' top scorer of the innings, Alexei Kervezee (56).

Ireland's opening partnership, William Porterfield and Paul Stirling combined to add a quick fire 41 before Porterfield departed in the fourth over, it was then up to Stirling and Ed Joyce to add to the total. After Stirling departure in the ninth over, Michael Swart looked set for a hat-trick as he dismissed Gary Wilson in his next ball but O'Brien smashed a 22-ball 30, in an performance that included one boundary and three massive sixes to secure Ireland's place in the Preliminary Final against Namibia tomorrow at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Man of the match O'Brien said looking ahead to facing Namibia tomorrow in the Preliminary Final: "We certainly started slowly in the tournament, though you've got to give credit to Namibia because they batted well and they bowled very well towards the end of the innings in our previous match. We've played them a lot now, so they obviously know us and we know them so it's going to be a close game tomorrow.

"You could say we're out for revenge after losing that first game, but we've won eight in a row now and we're full of confidence and we're looking forwards to tomorrow's game. It's going to be a great game, a close game, and hopefully we can come out on top."

Netherlands captain Peter Borren was obviously disappointed that the side didn't manage to restrict Ireland's run chase: "It's pretty disappointing to not finish in the top two. The partnership between Alexei Kervezee and Tom Cooper put us in a position, gave us the opportunity to go on and get 140, 145. The wicket of Cooper was crucial, because we struggled to maintain the momentum. We were never going to defend 114.

"Next week we've got two ODIs against Afghanistan in Sharjah. They're massive games because they're part of the qualification for the next ICC Cricket World Cup. We've won two and lost two in that competition, so if we can get two wins there in Sharjah that would be great against an in-from Afghanistan. It's now about focusing on the ODI matches."

Ireland beats Netherlands by seven wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium

Netherlands 114-7, 20 overs (Alexei Kervezee 56, Tom Cooper 26; Kevin O'Brien 2-17)

Ireland 115-3, 16.4 overs (William Porterfield 17, Paul Stirling 33, Ed Joyce 25 not out, Kevin O'Brien 30 not out; Michael Swart 2-23)

Man of the Match: Kevin O'Brien (Ireland)

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