Adair and Pringle contrive an epic finish at Westvliet

Picture Credit: Sander Tholen

After 38 overs of fluctuating fortunes at Westvliet on Sunday, the Netherlands and Ireland turned on a denouement for the ages, a last-ball thriller which saw the Irish win by a single run.

Chasing Ireland’s 150 for eight after Scott Edwards had put the visitors in, the Dutch still needed 38 with two overs remaining, seven wickets down and two new batters at the crease, and Ireland seemed to have earned themselves a relatively comfortable victory.

But one of those batters was Tim Pringle, brought into the side in place of Aryan Dutt, and he proceeded to take 17 runs off Barry McCarthy’s penultimate over of the innings, which together with a wide left 20 required from the last.

A canny single off McCarthy’s final delivery had kept Pringle on strike, but when he could only manage a two and a single off Mark Adair’s first two deliveries it seemed that a Dutch win was beyond reach.

Even more so when Paul van Meekeren got under a massive swing and was caught by Gareth Delany on the square leg boundary.

With Daniel Doram on strike, Adair’s attempted wide yorker missed the mark, and they were able to scramble a run to bring Pringle back on strike.

15 were now needed, and Pringle delighted the sizeable Dutch crowd by hammering back-to-back sixes, the first into a stiff prevailing wind and over long on, the second lofted hard and high over midwicket.

Just a four required, but Adair produced the leg-stump yorker Ireland needed, and with the spectre of Stuart Broad perhaps haunting Westvliet (if you don’t know why, try googling “Broad cricket 2009 overthrow”), Pringle could only push the ball back to the bowler and call Doram through for the single, Adair content to hold the ball and leave the Netherlands one run short of a Super Over.

It was largely thanks to Adair that the Dutch were chasing 150 in the first place: coming in with Ireland on a perilous 83 for six, he had smashed a devastating 24-ball 49 which included seven fours and two sixes, dominating a stand of 66 with Delany until he was trapped in front attempting a reverse sweep in – ironically, as it turned out – Pringle’s final over.

Until Adair’s arrival at the crease the Netherlands had been pretty unequivocally in charge, reducing the Irish to 32 for three in the first five overs, Kingma bowling Andy Balbirnie and Doram then removing Paul Stirling and Harry Tector in the space of three deliveries.

A stand of 33 between Lorcan Tucker and Curtis Campher began a rebuilding process, but this was ended by an outstanding catch by Bas de Leede at deep point, who ran in and dived forward at deep backward point to take Campher’s attempted uppercut off a Van Meekeren bouncer centimetres from the ground.

Tucker followed two overs later, well caught at long off by Vikram Singh as he attempted to hit Pringle for six into the wind; his 40 came from 30 deliveries and included five fours and a six.

When keeper Edwards ran 30 metres to fine leg to snaffle a top-edged pull from George Dockrell Ireland were 83 for six, paving the way for Adair’s stellar effort with the bat and a run-chase which was a good deal more demanding than the home side must have hoped.

Pringle’s three for 32 were the stand-out figures, although Logan van Beek again bowled well, his four overs conceding just 22 runs.

Michael Levitt and Max O’Dowd gave their side another solid start, although Ireland’s four-man pace attack of Adair, McCarthy, Fionn Hand and Campher were able to keep the damage from the powerplay down to 39 before Campher had danger-man Levitt caught by Tector at mid-on off the final ball of the sixth over.

Singh soon followed, unable to repeat his Saturday onslaught, but De Leede batted with great assurance, driving crisply while O’Dowd was restricted to a series of singles.

When they were both dismissed, however, O’Dowd for a 30-ball 33 and De Leede for a 29-ball 32, the innings quickly subsided, the asking-rate beginning to creep up as Teja Nidamanuru, Van Beek and Edwards followed for the addition of only seven runs.

With Hand taking three for 18 from his four overs Ireland were now well on top, and it was only Pringle’s effort in the closing overs which created that memorable conclusion.

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