Van der Merwe stars as Netherlands win two in two



[File photo] Van der Merwe’s 2 for 24 was crucial for Netherlands as they restricted Ireland to 158 for 6 © Getty

An all-round performance from Roelof van der Merwe on Wednesday (June 13) helped Netherlands register a victory for the second time in as many games against Ireland at Hazelaarweg, Rotterdam. Van der Merwe’s 2 for 24 in four overs helped the hosts restrict Ireland to 158 for 6. The all-rounder then came up with a crucial 37 to star in his team’s four-wicket victory and help them remain atop the points table in the tri-nation T20I series, also featuring Scotland.

Netherlands began on a positive note in the chase thanks to Tobias Visee, who raced away to 25 with the help of five fours in the first four overs. While his cameo was ended by George Dockrell, Max O’Dowd took over, smashing two fours and a six off Barry McCarthy to power Netherlands to 63 for 1 at the end of the first six overs. Similar to Ireland’s innings earlier, the Dutch also lost quick wickets soon after the fielding restrictions were lifted as Ben Cooper, O’Dowd and Bas de Leede fell in quick succession. Netherlands, however, were in control as far as the scoring rate was concerned, thanks to their rapid scoring during the powerplay.

But the home team required a solid presence to guide them in the latter half of the chase and van der Merwe was the man for the job as he ensured regular boundaries during his 26-ball stay, which included three fours and a six. Pieter Seelaar, who supported van der Merwe in a 39-run stand for the fifth wicket, remained till the end and along with Scott Edwards took Netherlands over the line with an over to spare.

Earlier, opting to bat, Ireland got off to a brisk start thanks to a 58-run opening stand. With three fours off Seelaar in the opening over, Paul Stirling signalled his positive intent straightaway while James Shannon got into the act by scoring two fours and a six off Fred Klaassen in the third over. Having brought up the half-century stand as early as the fourth over, the openers had provided a superb platform, one that they couldn’t quite capitalise upon as Netherlands struck at regular intervals to stymie Ireland’s progress.

The first wicket went down in the final over of the powerplay when Stirling was bowled by Klaassen for 27. Shannon followed soon after, bowled by Seelaar while Roelof van der Merwe accounted for Simi Singh to leave Ireland at 79 for 3 in the 9th over. The wickets meant that Ireland’s scoring rate dipped in the overs that ensued and they brought up the 100 in the 13th over through a watchful partnership between William Porterfield and Gary Wilson.

Following the departure of Porterfield, Kevin O’ Brien began by striking a six and a four off Shane Snater, only to become van der Merwe’s second wicket two overs later. Wilson scored a few boundaries in the death overs and he remained unbeaten on 45 off 42. But Ireland’s innings had lost momentum and they could only manage 35 in the last five overs.

Brief scores: Ireland 158/6 in 20 overs (Gary Wilson 45*, James Shannon 31; Roelof van der Merwe 2-24) lost to Netherlands 159/6 in 19 overs (Max O’Dowd 39, Roelof van der Merwe 37; George Dockrell 2-30) by 4 wickets

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