Shell-shocked Ireland were dumped out of the ICC World Twenty20 as Holland qualified for the main stages of the competition after their daring batsmen guided them to a six-wicket win in Sylhet.
With both sides needing victory to reach the tournament proper, William Porterfield’s men posted what appeared to be a decent total after being put into bat, with Andrew Poynter’s half-century and a trademark late blast from Kevin O’Brien guiding them to 189 for four.
However, their efforts were blown out of the water by the Dutchmen, who blasted 19 sixes in total and chased down the total with 37 balls to spare, with opening pair Peter Borren and Stephan Myburgh laying the platform in the first six overs of the reply with a 91-run partnership.
With Holland needing to win inside 14.2 overs to qualify for the main draw, Myburgh was particularly explosive, thumping Andy McBrine for three successive sixes in the second over.
The left-hander repeated the trick off Alex Cusack, whose first three balls sailed over the rope as he conceded 22 in his only over, before Myburgh brought up his half-century off just 17 balls with a four down the ground.
Borren was no slouch, but after whacking back-to-back fours off O’Brien, he fell for 31 after carving the bowler to George Dockrell, who took the catch from over his head while running back from point.
Myburgh then thumped Dockrell for six over midwicket, but when attempting to repeat the trick, could only find Ed Joyce on the boundary rope to depart for a sensational 63 off 23 balls, which included four fours and seven maximums.
Holland’s challenge looked to be faltering slightly when Logan van Beek gave O’Brien his second wicket, but Tom Cooper amazingly hammered four successive sixes in Dockrell’s 11th over.
Cooper’s charge was halted five runs shy of a half-century when he plugged the 15th ball he faced, off Tim Murtagh, to deep square-leg, but by then the result was not in doubt.
Wesley Barresi’s powerful six left the Dutch needing seven off six to qualify before the wicketkeeper-batsman (40 not out) completed the job with three balls to spare with another crushing maximum.
It was a stunning finish to squash previously unbeaten Ireland’s hopes after they had entered the clash knowing they only needed to win to join South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand in Group One.
After losing the toss, Ireland captain Porterfield started in convincing fashion, with a four-six off Ahsan Malik.
The left-hander then found the boundary rope twice more in the same over opening partner Paul Stirling thick-edged to point off Timm van der Gugten.
Porterfield then slapped Swart over long-on for six, but fell for 47 in the 10th over after being bowled advancing down the track to Ahsan.
Joyce contributed 28 off 25 balls before he was run out, but that only brought together Poynter and O’Brien, who put on 101 for the fourth wicket in 7.3 overs.
The two found the boundary rope with alarming regularity, with Poynter plundering four fours and as many sixes in his 57 off 38 balls, while O’Brien smashed 42 off 16 balls.
However, it proved to be all in vain as, with nothing to lose, Dutch courage prevailed.