Belfast Telegraph

Cricket: Paul Stirling stars as Ireland put Netherlands to the sword

Paul Stirling celebrated his nomination in two categories for this year’s ICC awards with a trademark, quick-fire half-century as Ireland overwhelmed the Netherlands by nine wickets in yesterday’s one-day international at Clontarf.

Stirling scored 62 from just 36 balls with 11 boundaries — five of them maximums — as Ireland passed the Dutch’s paltry total of 125 in the 21st over. He was in the middle for just 11 overs, and was out with the total on 85, serving up an innings which can only enhance his chances of an award at the glittering ceremony in Bangalore in October.

Stirling is in the long-list of nominations for the Emerging Player of the year — alongside Eoin Morgan, among 15 others — and is one of three Ireland players in contention for the Associate Player of the Year; the others are Trent Johnston and Kevin O’Brien.

When Stirling plays the way he did yesterday, he can dominate any attack as the Australia bowlers who were on the receiving end of his powerful bat in June on this ground will testify. It was the off-spinner, Adeel Raja who bore the brunt of his hitting, conceding 26 in his only over, his first three balls and the last disappearing for sixes. The 19-year-old lost three balls in his innings and not for the first time on this tour, the Dutch were begging for mercy.

It came when Maruits Jonkman trapped Stirling leg before on the back foot and with slow left-armer Peter Seelaar also gaining a measure of control, Gary Wilson and Alex Cusack took another nine overs to score the remaining 41 runs to complete victory.

Wilson, the century-maker in the first game on Monday, finished 48 not out with six fours and a six. The Ireland bowlers also did much as they pleased against a desperately disappointing Dutch batting line-up. Trent Johnston took a wicket with his second ball, and another with the first ball of his third over but it was a spell of three wickets in six balls which reduced the visitors to quivering wrecks.

Nigel Jones took two wickets in his first over and John Mooney followed up with the big wicket of Tom Cooper, caught behind for 25 in his first. Peter Seelaar again held up the Irish from No 8 but for the last two wickets, it was a case of the tail trying to bat out the overs. They used up 13 but still failed by 16 balls. The rest of the day, between the showers, was the Paul Stirling show.

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