Ireland came out with a renewed sense of vigour in Wednesday’s T20 international against Netherlands, but failed to hold the Dutch in a tight run chase at the VOB Ground in Rotterdam.
Openers Paul Stirling and James Shannon gave Ireland a perfect start, with a half-century opening stand in just under five overs.
Shannon, playing in his fourth T20I, easily surpassed his previous highest T20I score of five runs and looked more dangerous than his formidable partner Stirling.
However, both openers went soon after. With the score on 58, Stirling was beaten by Dutch medium-paceman Fred Klaassen and was dismissed by 27. Shannon went in the following over.
Yesterday’s batting hero Simi Singh had a brief but entertaining innings and William Porterfield compiled a run-a-ball 20, but at 105-4 in the 14th over, Ireland needed someone to stick in to the end and ensure a competitive total was posted. That role fell to captain Gary Wilson who hit 45* and saw Ireland through to a total of 158-6 off 20 overs.
With a target of 159 ahead of them, the Dutch openers Tobias Visee and Max O’Dowd got off to a positive start. 37 runs were scored in less than four overs, before Visee was beaten by George Dockrell and was dismissed for 25.
O’Dowd took the reins and hit his highest T20I score of 39 before edging a Stuart Thompson delivery to keeper Stuart Poynter.
With the foundations set by the early, experienced heads in the middle order saw the Netherlands run chase to a successful conclusion. van der Merwe followed his good bowling display with an aggressive innings of 37 and captain Pieter Seelaar followed up his score of 37 yesterday to compile a tidy 22* off 19 balls today, seeing his side through to reach the target with six balls to spare.
Netherlands have become a bogey team for Ireland, having now recorded wins in the two teams last five encounters in this format of the game.
Ireland will have two days break and then head into a two matches against Scotland on June 16 and 17.