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Ireland International Matches
Netherlands lost to Ireland by an innings and 67 runs
Intercontinental Cup, Rotterdam, 9 July 2008
Derek Scott

O'Brien goes over the top
This match produced a big Irish win after they had been sent in. It was a win which rain could easily have prevented. There was a great deal of it on days one and two.

Highlights of the match were Botha's score of 172 which began in the crisis of 25-3. It was his third score of 150 or more. Eoin Morgan and Niall O'Brien have each had a score of over 150 twice. It also saw Botha reach his 1000 first-class runs for Ireland, and go ahead of Bob Lambert as the second highest scorer of first-class runs for Ireland. The only one ahead of him is S.F.Bergin. All of Botha's first class runs have come in the Intercontinental Cup. He therefore also became only the fourth scorer of 1000 runs in this competition. Kevin O'Brien and Andrew Poynter, coming good in his fifth international innings, both supported Botha in long partnerships.

The real thrill came when 26-year-old Peter Connell, playing in his fifth international and making his first class debut, did a hat-trick to finish the match. In 1877 T.H.Hanna, the first taker of a hat-trick for Ireland, also finished the match with a hat-trick. Having waited 130 years for a second hat-trick, Trent Johnston in 2007, now there were two within a year.

Ireland now had three wins and a washed-out match in the 2008 Intercontinental Cup. This puts them 13 points behind Namibia with a match in hand, and three points ahead of Kenya who have also played four matches. The remaining matches Ireland have to play are Canada at home in August and Namibia and Kenya away on one trip in the autumn.

The counties would not release Niall O'Brien, Porterfield and Morgan for this match and Rankin was still not fit. Kevin O'Brien and Cusack returned after injury. They took the places of White (whose mother in fact died during the match) and Haire (on holidays) and these were the only changes from the team which played against Scotland in Aberdeen. Hall (who replaced White when the latter cried off the party due to his mother's illness) and Thompson were left out of a party of 13.

Holland also had problems with releases and injury and were without three of the usual best team.

There was a lot of rain on the day before the match but the match started on time at 11 a.m. The day was windy and chilly and rain never looked too far away, and so it transpired. The pitch was straw coloured with narrow touches of green and was hard without being rock hard.

Day 1

Botha pulls Geert Maarten Mol
Holland won the toss and putting Ireland into bat looked justified when the score was 25-3 in over 12. Stirling nicked a four off the last ball of the ever faithful Schiferli's first over. Bukhari, medium fast, then bowled to Strydom. The second ball bounced a little, was nicked, and caught at second slip. 7-1-1.

Cusack's broken finger had not completely healed but he felt fit enough to play and come into bat at number three. He and Stirling went along slowly but Stirling did hit a second four to extra cover in over six from Bukhari. To the second ball of the 10th over Stirling got an edge to the ball and it was caught by the wicketkeeper. 20-2-11. Enter Botha and he was in until the 82nd over scoring 172 and sharing stands of 159 (with Kevin O'Brien) and 139 (with Andrew Poynter). However, he soon lost Cusack. Botha square cut a four in over 11, bowled by Schiferli, but Cusack was LBW to the first ball of over 12, Bukhari. He played across the ball and missed. 25-3-8.

In came O'Brien for a 159 run stand which lasted for just over 36 overs. O'Brien had suffered a hamstring injury while playing a trial match for Middlesex 2nd XI but felt sufficiently recovered to play, but only as a batsman. Scoring in this partnership was quick. Botha hit fours to long-off and extra-cover off successive balls from Bukhari in over 14. O'Brien got off the mark with a four to mid-wicket in Schiferli's next over. Then O'Brien hooked and off drove fours in Bukhari's eighth and last over.

Holland persisted with three slips and a gully but 50 came up in over 17. O'Brien hooked Schiferli for a six in his 10th and last over of this spell. Mol and Jonkman, both on the fast side of medium, were tried. Seelaar, slow left-arm, bowled the 28th over, a maiden to O'Brien. Botha took 10, including two fours, off Jonkman's fifth over. The 30th over saw 100 up.

Bukhari came back to bowl the 31st over and the last before lunch. O'Brien pulled a four and, at lunch, was 37 not out. Botha was 49 and the lunch score was 108-3. Borren, another medium pacer, shared a few overs after lunch with Schiferli. Botha hit Borren's third ball for a four to long-on to bring him to 53 in 68 balls and it was his ninth four. In the next four overs there were five fours interspersed with a single. Botha hit three of the fours and O'Brien two. Two fours in the 35th over by Botha put up the century stand.

Bukhari came back and with a leg side two in his second over O'Brien went to 51 in 88 balls, with eight fours. A pull to mid-wicket by O'Brien brought up 150 in over 41. For over 46 Seelaar was given another chance. O'Brien hit successive balls for six to long-on and four to the same place. The 150 stand came up in this over and, by its end, O'Brien, with 76, had overtaken Botha, who was on 75. Rain then caused a three minute delay. On the resumption O'Brien hit a Seelaar full toss straight into Jonkman's hands at mid-wicket. The stand of 159 in 219 balls was over but it had saved Ireland's day. 184-4 was a long way from 25-3. O'Brien's 79 was his fifth half-century for Ireland. He faced 114 balls with 2 sixes and 12 fours.

Andrew Poynter was the incoming batsmen. He was out to prove himself. This was his fifth innings and his previous four only realised 16 runs between them. His first run, a single, came off his ninth delivery. The score after 50 overs was 189. Poynter pulled a four in over 51. Botha was now in his 80s. He played a sweep shot off Seelaar. Short fine leg ducked but the ball lobbed and landed beside him. Botha took 10 off over 52, bowled by Seelaar, to bring up the 200. In over 55, Borren, Botha was dropped at first slip. This was an easy chance which should have been taken to first slip's left. Botha was now on 97. In over 56, a two past mid-on took Botha to 100. He had scored it from only 132 balls with 15 fours. It was his fifth century and four of them had come in the Intercontinental Cup matches, all first-class.

At 3:20 p.m. rain came again and there was no more play on day one. The close of play score was 226-4 in 58 overs, Botha 103, Poynter 19. 96 overs should have been the days quota.

Day 2 Play was scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. on day two and go on until 7 p.m., assuming the weather allows. In fact the latter happened but rain and a wet ground prevented any play starting until 5:50 p.m. and the umpires then ordained that 19 overs be bowled.

Schiferli and Bukhari started the bowling and Botha hit both bowlers for fours to mid-wicket in their first overs. In over 64, Bukhari, Botha hit fours off successive balls to extra cover and a pull to bring up 250. Starting at over 68 Holland tried Mol, Borren and Seelaar, but to no avail. In Borren's third over, the 75th, Botha hit fours to third man and to square leg to take him to 151 in 190 balls, with 24 fours. This was a very high percentage of his runs in boundaries.

The close of play on day two came after over 77 with the total at 296-4, Botha on 152 and Poynter on 36. This pair had already put on 112 for the fifth wicket.

Day 3

Nick Statham pulls
The third day's play began at 10:30 a.m. in overcast but warm conditions. Beforehand, the Irish party observed a minute's silence at the side of the pitch and wore black armbands in memory of Andy White's mother who died two days previously.

A quick 100 runs were now needed to set up a 400 score declaration with the hope of being able to enforce a Holland follow-on. This objective was splendidly achieved. 22 more overs were bowled in the Irish innings in just under 90 minutes. 104 more runs were scored and two wickets fell.

Seelaar bowled the first over, the 78th, as the new ball could be taken after 80 overs. Botha hit successive fours to long leg and long on to bring up 300. Schiferli bowled over 79 and Poynter thick edged a four to third man. Bukhari bowled over 80 from which Botha hit 10 with fours to long-off and a square cut.

Schiferli took the new ball for over 81. It was a maiden to Poynter. Bukhari took the new ball at the other end. Botha edged the first ball high to slip but it went past the fielder. It turned out not to be an expensive miss. Three balls later Botha tried to withdraw his bat from a ball outside the off stump but failed and he edged to Holland's wicketkeeper captain Smits. 323-4-172. A great innings, begun in a crisis, had ended. It is the second highest of Botha's three scores in excess of 150. He faced only 212 balls with 28 fours and was in for four hours and 29 minutes. The 139 run stand with Poynter had come off 34 overs with Botha scoring 92 of the runs in the stand.

Wilson joined Poynter and Wilson, in over 88, saw Poynter reach 51 with a square driven four. Poynter had faced 123 balls and hit six fours. Two fours to Wilson in over 91, one off his toes and one to fine leg, took Ireland past 350. After 11 new ball overs from Bukhari and Schiferli, Jonkman and Borren replaced them. Wilson hit Borren for a four but was out in Jonkman's next over, the 94th. Mol brought off a great mid-wicket catch off a skier. He had to turn, run back and judge the ball coming over his shoulder. Then he dived forward and caught the ball two handed near the ground. 367-6-27.

McCallen joined Poynter in this 94th over. In the remaining 34 balls before the declaration came at 400, 33 runs were scored. Poynter had somewhat more of the strike. In over 97, bowled by Borren, he came down the pitch and hit a four wide of mid-on. Two balls later he hit a four to fine leg. At noon, after 99 overs had been bowled, McCallan called a halt with the score at 400-6. Poynter was 76 having faced 157 balls, scoring eight fours. In all there were two sixes and 54 fours, more than half the runs came in boundaries. Runs per hundred balls were 67. Six bowlers were used by Holland of whom three took wickets. Bukhari had 4-85 in 22 overs. Seelaar's one wicket was expensive at 61 runs in 12 overs. The others mostly bowled at four runs per over except Mol, who was underused. His 11 overs cost 32.

Smits ducks under a Botha bouncer
At 12:10 p.m. Holland began their reply with de Grooth and Mol. Connell and Fourie both bowled a maiden and of the first 12 balls bowled only one had to be played with the bat (Fourie to Mol). This was a poor start by Ireland but the third over brought massive improvement. de Grooth snicked Connell's first ball for three. Mol pushed out at the last ball and was LBW on the front foot. 3-1-0. Statham was next. In Connell's next over, the fifth, Statham hit two. Statham snicked the next ball to slip. Poynter, at third slip, moved in front of O'Brien at second slip, and juggled and dropped the catch. Fourie took the second wicket in the next over. de Grooth went to drive and was bowled off stump. 11-2-7. Van Bunge arrived with one ball left in the sixth over. Then Statham played a maiden from Connell.

On the fifth ball of the eight over Van Bunge was dropped at slip again by Poynter, and this time diving low to his left. Again the miss was inexpensive. The second ball of Connell's next over, the ninth, saw a wicket fall with Statham driving and being caught at gully. 13-3-4. Number five was Szwarczynski, hereinafter referred to as Szwar. He and Van Bunge played out five more overs up to the lunch interval. Szwar's first scoring shot was a four to long-off off Connell. The lunch score was 26-3 in 13 overs, Van Bunge 10, Szwar 5. Connell had begun this match with lowly figures of one wicket for 179 runs in 28 overs. He had, by now, trebled his wickets taken.

Cusack had bowled one over before lunch but Connell and Fourie were the post lunch bowlers. Two wickets fell in the first six overs. The first ball of over 17, bowled by Connell, had Van Bunge out to a brilliant catch by wicket-keeper Wilson. He dived far to his right and caught the ball low and one-handed. 32-4-12. Borren came in and hit Fourie for four wide of third man. Then, in over 19, Connell took his fourth wicket, again with the aid of Wilson who jumped high and caught Szwar's upward snick two-handed. 37-5-9.

Jonkman and Borren scored eight singles in the next five overs. For over 24 Cusack replaced Fourie who, from the start, had bowled 11 overs for 25 runs and one wicket. The change worked. Borren hit the first ball for four to long-off. The third ball had him caught at second slip by Poynter. 49-6-13. Bukhari joined Jonkman. In Connell's next over, the 25th, Jonkman snicked hard to Strydom at slip but the catch went down. 50 had just come up before this miss. In the next 10 overs 20 runs were scored. Each batsman hit a four and four successive maidens were bowled, two by Cusack and two by Kidd, who replaced Connell for over 31. Kidd came off after only those two maiden overs to be replaced by McCallan for over 35. To the latter's first ball Jonkman went back, missed, and was LBW. 71-7-13.

Holland's captain, Smits, was next. Kidd changed ends and replaced Cusack, who had now bowled seven overs for 16. In over 38, bowled by Kidd, Bukhari hit two fours, one in the air over mid-off and one to long-on. Then McCallan dismissed Bukhari who was LBW while playing forcefully to leg. 84-8-23. Schiferli joined his captain but did not last long. The first ball of over 42, from Kidd, was pushed back to the bowler hard and high but Kidd took it right-handed at shoulder height. 89-9-3.

Seelaar came in as the ultimate man and showed that he should have batted higher. His number 11 score of 27 was the best of the innings as was the 10th wicket stand of 38 from 12 overs. In the middle of the 44th over there was a rain break which lasted 45 minutes during which tea was taken. The score at the break was 94-9. Connell and Botha took up the bowling. 100 was up in over 46. In over 49, bowled by Connell, Seelaar hit two successive fours to third man and a snick to the same place. McCallan came on for Connell for over 51 and in his next over Seelaar hit his third and last four. There were only 10 fours in all in the innings and the joint best was Seelaar's three, together with Bukhari who also hit three.

Botha bowled the 54th over which turned out to be the last. The first ball saw another drop by Poynter at slip. It was Seelaar who was dropped and he hit a three next ball. He was back on strike for the fourth ball which he snicked to Wilson. Holland were 127 all out in 53.4 overs. The deficit was 273 so in the enforced follow-on Holland would have to make that score just to make Ireland bat again.

All six of Ireland's bowlers took one or more wickets. The star was Connell. He bowled 17 overs, roughly one third of the total, and took 4-41. McCallan bowled seven overs to take 2-11 and probably should have bowled more. Four missed slip chances was unusual for Ireland.

At 5 p.m. Holland went into bat again, with 90 minutes to play. 24 overs were bowled in that time and, by the close, Holland were 49-3.

De Grooth and Mol opened as before to Connell and Fourie. In singles and twos 13 runs came in six overs. The second ball of the seventh over, bowled by Connell, clean bowled de Grooth. Statham was next. The seventh, eighth and ninth overs were maidens and Botha had replaced Fourie for the eighth over. Mol had a big "heave" at Botha in his second over. McCallan caught the catch running back from slip, to complete a pair for Mol. 13-2-0.

Van Bunge was next. His first scoring shot was a four to fine leg off Connell. The first ball of Botha's next over, the 14th, saw Statham hit a four. He top edged the next ball and was caught by Connell at gully. 23-3-6. Szwar was next and no further wicket fell. Van Bunge in this period hit four fours. In the 16th over, bowled by Botha, he hit one to extra cover. Fourie replaced Connell for over 15. In his third over, the 19th, Van Bunge hit a four and in his next over Van Bunge hit two fours. The day ended with three maidens, two by McCallan and one by Strydom. 49-3 in 24 overs was the closing score, with Van Bunge 21 and Szwar 9. The evening was a fine one and play could have gone on for much longer, but the regulations ordained a 6:30 p.m. close on a non-rain day.

Peter Borren lofts Gary Kidd back over his head for six
Day 4 There was heavy rain overnight but the fourth day started with the sun out, if it was still a little chilly. There was a 15 minute delay and then both overnight batsmen were quickly out. Connell bowled a maiden to Van Bunge to start and Fourie's first over Van Bunge hit four to long-off. Szwar gently lofted the first ball of Connell's second over back to him. 54-4-10. Borren came in and played out the rest of this over.

Van Bunge got too far under the second ball of Fourie's next over and skied to Connell at mid-on, a poor shot in the circumstances. 54-5-25. Jonkman joined Borren and, in fact, the next three wickets all did well, adding 51, 53 and 48 respectively. It often happens in a follow-on that the batting is better in the second innings than in the first. After the bad start Holland made 80 more runs in the second innings than in the first. Borren and Jonkman began very quietly as they knew that Holland had to bat all day and, already, at 11 a.m. there were five wickets down.

Cusack replaced Connell for over 35 and thought he had Borren caught by Wilson of the last ball but the umpire did not agree. Borren hit Fourie for four to long off in over 36. Botha came on for Fourie for over 38 and Kidd replaced Botha for over 44. Kidd was still bowling too fast and did not try to flight the ball. McCallan appeared for over 45 and bowled a four leg-byes. Borren brought up 100 in over 46, bowled by Kidd, when he took 12 runs off it, including a six over long-on.

Then McCallan, having conceded four byes off the first ball of his next over, had Jonkman brilliantly caught by Stirling at short leg. The sharp chance went to Stirling's left but he reached it low and one-handed. 105-6-17. Bukhari was next and with his entry the scoring rate improved. In over 48, Kidd, Bukhari hit the first two balls for fours to long-off and long-on. In Kidd's next over both batsmen scored boundaries. Fourie replaced Kidd, whose four overs had cost 32 runs, for over 52. He only bowled two overs. Then Connell and McCallan bowled nine overs together up to lunch and another wicket fell. Borren and Bukhari between them hit eight fours in their 53 run stand which came off 87 balls. A four to Bukhari off Connell in over 59 raised the 150.

Two overs later Borren got the last four of the stand off Connell with a high snick which, in fact, took him to 53. His 53 had come off 103 balls and contained a six and five fours. It was the first Holland 50 of the match. The next ball bounced a little and Borren followed it up and edged it to O'Brien at second slip. 158-7-53. Bukhari hit a four to mid-wicket in McCallan's next over despite the bat now being surrounded by fielders. Connell bowled the 63rd over, the last before lunch. It was a maiden to Smits. The score at lunch was 166-7, Bukhari 31 and Smits 3.

McCallan bowled the first post lunch over. Off the third ball Smits gave a sharp chance to the right hand of Poynter at silly point which was not accepted. Botha bowled the next over and Bukhari hit two fours, one a head high square cut and one to extra cover. This eighth wicket pair went on slowly. McCallan changed ends and Kidd had another five over spell. Bukhari hit Botha for four to extra cover off the back foot and Smit's hit his only four off Kidd in over 72, a square cut.

A balletic McCallan appeal
With a two off McCallan Bukhari went to 51 in over 73. It came off 70 deliveries and contained eight fours. The 200 came up in over 78. The new ball was now approaching (it would come after 80 overs). Overs 75 to 77 were maidens. Poynter had his first bowl for Ireland when he bowled his off spin for the 80th over. The only scoring shot was a two off the last ball.

Connell bowled the 81st over and took the new ball after his first delivery. The dramatic end was now enacted. The fourth ball of the over bowled Smits. 206-8-12. The fifth ball bowled Seelaar. 206-9-0 and the last ball had Schiferli LBW. The end came at 2:30 p.m. and the win was by an innings and 67 runs. Apart from Connell's hat-trick being Ireland's third, it was also the third hat-trick in the Intercontinental Cup. Curiously, each of Holland, Canada and Ireland took a hat-trick and had one taken against them.

Connell, on his first-class debut, had taken 10 wickets for 69 runs and 6-28 in 18 overs in the second innings, with 10 maidens. The last 10 or more wickets for Ireland in any type of match was Michael Halliday's 11-106 against Matabeleland at Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1986. The last in a first-class match for Ireland was JD Monteith's 12-95 against Scotland in Cork in 1973. Finally, TH Dixon in 1927 took 10-130 against Scotland in College Park on his debut for Ireland and the match had first class status.

Eight bowlers bowled in this innings. Connell was easily the best. From having one wicket for 179 runs in four matches he now had 11 wickets for 248 runs in five! Botha had 2-33 in 11 overs and there were 21 maidens in the 81 overs bowled.

Botha was declared Man-of-the-Match and the Dutch gave him a framed advertisement for Dutch Cricket, a somewhat strange award.