(Reuters) - All-rounder Paul Stirling cracked a 72-ball 101 as Ireland completed their World Cup campaign on a winning note despite their group stage exit with a six-wicket win over Netherlands on Friday.
The Dutch had posted a competitive 306 from their 50 overs on the back chiefly of 106 from Ryan ten Doeschate and 84 from skipper Peter Borren.
But their innings dramatically ran out of steam with their last four wickets falling in successive balls, all from run-outs, as they chased valuable extra runs in the final over from Kevin O’Brien.
From early in the Irish innings it was clear that the Dutch total would probably be found wanting on a batsman’s delight of a wicket.
Stirling and captain William Porterfield (68) put on 177 for the first wicket and all their batsmen went on to make useful contributions before Kevin O’Brien lofted a huge six over long-off to overhaul the Dutch total with 14 balls to spare.
Stirling won man-of-the-match honours but was so badly stricken with cramp afterwards he was unable to leave the dressing room to collect his prize.
Porterfield accepted it for him and reflected on a campaign which had promised much for his team, especially after a shock win over England in Bangalore on March 2.
Losing to Bangladesh in their first game on Feb. 25, however, had proved a fatal blow.
“We are pretty happy with the way we’ve played and what we’ve done in preparation. We’ve gone out there and experienced a lot of stuff,” he said.
“We’re slightly disappointed with a couple of games there, we’re confident that on another day we could have got through them and got another two wins.”
His opposite number Borren had the consolation of a few cricket lessons learned rather a victory from the tournament.
“These experiences for us we’ll never forget but also we’ve learned an awful lot,” he said.
“We’ve learned again today that on these kind of wickets if you don’t get it quite right with the ball you’ll go for plenty of runs.
It was a low point for the consistently impressive ten Doeschate to finish his World Cup campaign as he joined a select band to score his second century at this World Cup.
The powerful Dutchman slammed a superb 106, including 13 fours and a six, to join South African AB De Villiers and India’s Sachin Tendulkar as the only players so far to score two hundreds in this tournament.
The Dutch had gone into the match without a win from their previous five matches but after a dreadful start in which they lost Eric Szwarczynski (1) and Tom Cooper (5) with only 12 on the board, ten Doeschate rebuilt their innings.
After he departed, caught by John Mooney off spinner Stirling, Borren carried on the assault on the Irish bowlers with 84, including 10 fours off 82 balls.