Ireland had done enough to suggest they are the best of the rest at this World Cup and on Friday they stamped their superiority among Associate nations by chasing down a target of 307 against The Netherlands at Eden Gardens here.
After Ryan ten Doeschate became the first batsman from an Associate nation to score two centuries in the World Cup, Ireland came up with a complete batting performance to ease to victory.
Ireland had chased down a 300-plus target against England as well but on that occasion it was thanks to a somewhat freak late middle-order charge led by Kevin O’Brien. Ireland looked in command from the moment opener Paul Stirling got going with captain William Porterfield playing second fiddle.
Stirling, 20, once scored 177 against Canada and his Virender Sehwag-like hitting against the new ball stood out for its fearlessness. He edged a few to the third man boundary — one top-edge went for a six over the wicketkeeper’s head — but was also hitting quite a few off the middle of the bat. He got to his century in only the 28th over before throwing it away.
By then Porterfield was also back in the pavilion, but Niall O'Brien batted sensibly and with cameos from former England batsman Ed Joyce, Gary Wilson and brother Kevin, Ireland got to the target with 14 deliveries to spare.
Ireland's 18-year-old left-arm spinner George Dockrell dislocated his shoulder while diving to try and stop an on-drive off his own bowling. The incident took place in the 20th over of The Netherlands’ innings.
“His shoulder popped out and was popped back in. He went to get a scan done,” ICC media manager Jon Long said.
The last four deliveries of The Netherlands’ innings saw four run-outs as Aatse Buurman, Pieter Seelar, Adeel Raja and Mudassar Bukhari returned to the pavilion impersonating the headless chicken. And to think that the first of those was off a wide!
“We could have got about 10 runs off those four deliveries and maybe Ireland players went into the pavilion a little happier because of the run-outs,” Dutch captain Peter Borren qipped.