Five talking points from Ireland’s defeat to Netherlands

Ireland were beaten in the final over by Netherlands in Dublin on Wednesday as half-centuries from Max O’Dowd (68) and Ben Cooper (91*) helped the Dutch secure a six-wicket victory.

Batting first, Ireland posted 181/7 from 20 overs with Harry Tector (60) scoring his first senior international half-century in just his second match.

Andy Balbirnie (45) was again among the runs and when Mark Adair bowled Tobias Visee with the very first ball of Netherlands’ innings, Ireland were off to the perfect start.

After a partnership worth 144 between O’Dowd and Cooper, Netherlands were cruising but George Dockrell (3-17) did his best to wrestle the momentum back for Ireland.

The superb Cooper and Scott Edwards (13*) got the visitors over the line with five balls to spare and means all three teams now have one victory apiece heading into the final two fixtures.

Here are five talking points following Ireland’s defeat.

1: Harry Tector is an absolute natural

19-year-old Tector has started his international career in superb fashion and has looked so comfortable at the crease in both innings that he has played so far.

Although he only registered 21 against Scotland on Tuesday, the confidence he showed was a massive positive for Ireland and that was only further illustrated on Wednesday as he went to a half-century from 36 deliveries.

Tector (60) has the modern-day ability to play every shot in the book all over the ground and didn’t give the Netherlands bowlers any real chance to settle.

Bigger tests and more pressurising situations await, but the signs are so positive for Tector who is a future captain in waiting.


2: Innings of two halves for Dutch bowlers

The Dutch bowlers were so poor at the start of Ireland’s innings and really struggled to bowl to their field or implement any real plans in the powerplay with the exception of Brandon Glover (2-19).

Twenty20 cricket is a batsman’s game and bowling with the fielding restrictions and against batsmen that can play shots all over the ground is generally a thankless task, but you have to help yourself and the Dutch strayed short or leg-side too often.

Ireland scored 62-2 from their opening six overs and got off to a flying start for the second time in as many days, but credit must go to the Netherlands for the way they came back in the last eight or nine overs.

While Ireland looked set to reach 200 before their momentum died, they were able to pull the score back and showed improvements from their opening clash with Scotland.

3: Beneficial series for Ireland

Although it’s always nice to win matches, that was never going to be the most important thing during this Tri-Series and Gary Wilson will have learnt a lot about the squad over the past few days in two competitive matches.

About 10 or 11 of the touring party to the UAE will already have been known before any of this action in Dublin but there are still many positives to take from it.

We now know Harry Tector is going to be able to step up to the international level with no issues at all and that Gareth Delany is going to have a big impact after getting even more experience with the ball during these matches alongside some big hitting.

David Delany made his debut on Tuesday and only went for 24 runs from his four overs, so should be a big weapon in the Middle East.


Gareth Delany Credit: CricketEurope

4: Welcome headache for Ireland’s selectors

There are so many pace options currently for Ireland to pick from and it’s going to be interesting to see what formula they go for at the qualifiers.

Mark Adair will certainly take the new ball while Boyd Rankin and Shane Getkate will surely be on the plane to the UAE, but there are so many other options available too that it’s going to be a tough call for Andrew White and his fellow selectors.

David Delany has shown some good signs as mentioned before, Craig Young provides some further extra pace, Stuart Thompson has opened the bowling in this series and provides some needed control usually while the likes of Josh Little and Barry McCarthy are waiting in the wings after being left out.

It is a welcome but tough decision due to the amount of options Ireland have at their disposal and is yet to be seen if there will be much difference from the personnel selected for the current set of matches in Dublin.


Mark Adair is a certainty to be selected for the World Twenty20 qualifiers. ©CricketEurope

5: Play as close to the starting team as possible

Ireland have tried different combinations during the opening two matches but they should pick an XI that will be as close to the team that will take on Hong Kong on October 18 when they face Scotland on Friday.

I know that conditions are drastically different but it would be beneficial to have those 11 players getting more competitive cricket under their belt heading into a big competition and get the bowlers into rhythm.

Much of the squad picks itself with Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien and Andy Balbirnie settled as the top three ahead of the competition but it would be good to get those players below them used to the roles they will be performing.

This group of players are extremely exciting and it will be interesting to see if they can translate the potential into performance.


Could Paul Stirling return to Ireland’s squad on Friday? ©CricketEurope

Five talking points from Ireland vs. Scotland

Blistering half-centuries from Gareth Delany and Andy Balbirnie helped Ireland to a superb four-wicket victory over Scotland in Dublin on Tuesday.

After Scotland, who scored 252/3 against the Netherlands on Monday, won the toss and set Ireland a target of 194 to win in 20 overs, Delany got Ireland off to a flying start by scoring 52 from 28 deliveries.

Playing in just his third international match, Delany opened in the absence of Paul Stirling and put on 57 for the first wicket in just 4.1 overs with Kevin O’Brien (17).

Balbirnie (64 from 32) was dismissed by Richie Berrington with another 28 runs needed to complete an impressive run chase, and it was left to debutant Harry Tector (21) and captain Gary Wilson (13) to finish the game off.

Here are five talking points following the action.

1. Is Boyd Rankin still Ireland’s main man?

At 35, former Warwickshire seamer Boyd Rankin still seems to be Ireland’s most effective pace bowler in white ball cricket and picked up figures of 3/29 from his four overs at Malahide.

Rankin has been able to focus on T20 since the start of August with a spell in England with Derbyshire, and although that didn’t go to plan in terms of wickets, it seems he has rhythm in this form and that was on full display against Scotland.

While the majority of bowlers went the distance (with the exception of Gareth Delany), Rankin kept his economy down to 7.25 and bowled more dot balls (nine) than any of his colleagues.

With the likes of Mark Adair and David Delany coming through the ranks now, Rankin remains the go-to man with his control and is able to make things happen, dismissing both Kyle Coetzer and Ollie Hairs before they could do more damage.

as Ireland take on the Netherlands on the third day of the Oman Quadrangular Series.

Boyd Rankin ©CricketEurope

2. Gareth Delany has a big role to play over the next couple of months

With Jacob Mulder set to miss next month’s World Twenty20 qualifying campaign in the UAE, Gareth Delany is Ireland’s only real leg-spin option now and has a big role to play as the men in green look to book their place in Australia next year.

The 22-year-old was superb against Scotland, collecting his first two international wickets and with spinner-friendly conditions in the Middle East, he is set to have an even bigger impact during the qualifiers.

It’s very promising for Irish fans that Delany stepped up to the challenge against a superb Scottish batting line-up that will undoubtedly light up the main World Cup competition after they surely qualify in November.

The Leinster Lightning all-rounder also provides power-hitting, be that in the opening role (52 off 28) he performed so well in on Tuesday or coming in down the order with a few overs to go.

gareth delany

Gareth Delany ©CricketEurope

3. Cobwebs blown out for Ireland 

Ireland were sloppy in the field at points on Tuesday and bowled too many extras (eight wides) in their 20 overs, but hopefully they are now back in gear and will show improvements on Wednesday against the Netherlands.

They have been playing a series of Inter-Squad matches between a squad of 25 at YMCA Cricket Club but that is a very comfortable environment and obviously isn’t anywhere near replicating the pace of an international match.

With the second T20 Festival in Bready abandoned without a ball being bowled in August, a lot of the squad are short on competitive 20-over matches in the past couple of months and this will have got them back into the swing of things.

Graham Ford’s men will need to show some improvements on the bowling side of things on Wednesday as they continue to build up to the most important stage of the year.

4. Euro T20 Slam shambles cost some players more than money

While the Euro T20 Slam was a brilliant opportunity for our local players to earn good money while getting the experience of competing alongside proven international performers, it cost some something bigger – opportunity.

Looking at the players that were set to play in a T20 franchise competition that was scheduled for three countries over three weekends before it was farcically cancelled two weeks before it was due to start, the likes of Greg Thompson and Josh Little have been excluded from a 15-man squad for this tri-series.

The Euro T20 Slam would have offered both (and the others included) a big chance to state their case for a spot at the World Twenty20 qualifiers, so the shambles that ensued has cost many players an opportunity to prove themselves.

Thompson’s dropping is a very surprising one considering he scored 32 in his last innings against Zimbabwe, registered 757 runs for Waringstown at a strike-rate of 122.35 and it wasn’t too long ago he showed his limited-over prowess for the Northern Knights.

greg batting against zimbabwe

Thompson batting against Zimbabwe ©CricketEurope

5. Ireland’s batting line-up so powerful and exciting 

While the fielding and bowling was below-par at times, the batting was absolutely superb and the current line-up is dynamic.

Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling will be the opening partnership going into the qualifiers, but Gareth Delany showed he is more than capable of stepping up to the top of the order if needed.

Andy Balbirnie is the perfect man to come in at three with his ability to stabilise an innings if an early wicket falls but is also able to continue scoring at a rapid rate if set a platform like he was on Tuesday.

With the likes of Lorcan Tucker, Shane Getkate and Mark Adair to follow, the Irish selectors will be delighted at their options and the ease in which they chased down a big total.


Andy Balbirnie has been in great form for Ireland ©CricketEurope