Netherlands gunned down their highest-ever T20I chase against Ireland thanks to a brilliant partnership between Max O’Dowd and Ben Cooper.
The pair added 144 in 15 overs, Netherland’s joint-highest stand in T20I cricket along with Sterre Kalis and Denise van Deventer’s association against Germany earlier this year, after Tobias Visee was bowled by Mark Adair on his very first ball of the chase.
Between them, they struck 12 sixes, as Netherlands seemed to be cruising towards their first win of the tri-series, but Ireland hit back to set up a tense finish. George Dockrell struck three times in 10 balls, removing O’Dowd, Antonius Staal, and Pieter Seelar to reduce Netherlands from 144/1 to 159/4.
Cooper remained at the crease however, determined to see it through, while Scott Edwards played a vital cameo, striking three fours in three balls in a penultimate over his side had gone into needing 19 runs to win. Fittingly, it was Cooper who hit the winning runs, smashing a six to seal victory and take him to 91*, the third-highest individual T20I score by a Netherlands player.
The stunning stand rather overshadowed a breakthrough half-century from 19-year-old Harry Tector, playing just his second T20I after making his debut earlier in the series. He built well on the fast start from Kevin O’Brien, who blazed 30 from 16 balls, while Andy Balbirnie looked to attack too, scoring 45 from 26 in a 79-run partnership with Tector.
Ireland stumbled somewhat after Balbirnie was dismissed, losing captain Gary Wilson and Mark Adair for single figure scores, but Tector batted through to the final over of the innings before falling for 60 off 40 balls.
In a game dominated by bat, it was Brandon Glover who bowled the key spell, dismissing both openers to finish with figures of 2/19. As impressive as he was however, the game will be remembered for the fireworks of Max O’Dowd and Ben Cooper, who kept Netherlands alive in the series.