Poynter the hero with winning six off last ball
Stuart Poynter was the coolest man in the ground after he hit the last ball for six to give Ireland their second victory of the Quadrangular tournament in Oman. The bowler, Paul van Meekeren, lay prostrate on the ground in disbelief.
The Netherlands pace man had been his side's hero, repeatedly halting Ireland's charge for victory, first with the wicket of captain Paul Stirling in his opening over, then Shane Getkate and Ireland's main man, Andrew Balbirnie, in the space of three balls and with the fourth ball of the last over, Boyd Rankin's attempt to hit him to the boundary ended gently in the hands of point.
The batsmen crossed to get Poynter in strike for the penultimate delivery and when he mistimed a pull, he turned down the single and told No 11 Peter Chase to stay at the other end. He would finish the job - and he did, becoming the first player to hit a six off the last ball to win a T20 match with six required.
It was Ireland's first T20 victory by the minimum margin and while Balbirnie's 83 and Poynter's magnificent hit got them over the line, the bowlers made it so much harder for the batsmen.
Five wides and two no balls gave the Dutch an extra seven balls and at least another 18 runs in the powerplay which ended with the Dutch on 77-0. The 100 came up in the eighth over but, in amazing turnaround, Ireland took seven wickets for 36 runs to reduce the Oranjemen to 154-7 with three overs remaining.
Stuart Thompson, recalled in place of Lorcan Tucker, in the only change to the first two games, took three wickets in his second over, having earlier struck his third ball to give him his best figures for Ireland and with George Dockrell going at almost nine runs an over, Stirling brought himself on and conceded just 13 runs in his three overs to haul Ireland into the contest.
To be fair to Dockrell, he made the breakthrough with the huge wicket of Tim Visee, caught at short third man for 78 (12 fours and three sixes) while Rankin, after being hit for four fours in his first over, came back to take 2-11 in the death overs.
Ireland also proved they could total over 180 with Stirling and Kevin O'Brien contributing less than 50. Balbirnie became Ireland's highest scorer in an official T20 international, hitting 12 fours and a six and Dockrell, Simi Singh, Little and of course Poynter, proved they could hit boundaries when needed.
Much work lies ahead with Afghanistan lying in wait when they arrive in India this evening.
But James Shannon will not be joining them. The Northern Knights skipper has a shoulder problem which forced his early return from the Ireland Wolves tour last month. No decision has been taken yet on whether he will be replaced in the T20 squad which play the first three games, starting on Thursday.
Scotland won the Oman tournament, on a superior run-rate, after beating their hosts yesterday by seven wickets.