Netherlands 144 (Seelar 36, Simi 3-23, McCarthy 3-26) beat Ireland 140 for 8 (Simi 57*, Seelar 3-25) by four runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Allrounder Simi Singh came close to pulling off a miracle on T20I debut, but his lower-order counterattack – an unbeaten 57 off 29 balls – wasn’t enough for Ireland, who lost to Netherlands by four runs in the opening game of the tri-nation T20I series in Rotterdam.

Netherlands had come back from a batting slump to inflict a much more serious collapse on Ireland. Their captain, Peter Seelaar, top-scored with 36 to lift them up from 52 for 4, before taking the crucial wickets of Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson as the visitors lost half their side with less than 50 on the board in a chase of 145.

Before long, Ireland had fallen to 63 for 7. But Simi, who had gained a regular spot in Ireland’s ODI team towards the end of the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe earlier this year, put together an innocuous but useful 33-run partnership with George Dockrell to keep them alive. At the fall of Dockrell’s wicket, Ireland needed 49 off 20 balls. Fifteen of those were made before the start of the 19th over, in which Simi went big against the left-arm medium pace of debutant Fred Klaasen, hitting him for 15 off 4 as he brought up his fifty. Then Barry McCarthy closed a 22-run over with a six. But medium-pacer Paul van Meekeren conceded only seven off the last over to give the hosts the win; he held his nerve as Simi faced up to the last ball with six needed, sending down a yorker.

Earlier, Netherlands had to rethink their plan after starting strongly through their top three, who had made 46 in the first five overs before the collapse. Seelaar and Bas de Leede (33) stabilised the innings with a 64-run stand for the fifth wicket, but neither could push on as wickets fell – six in the last five overs – and Netherlands ended up falling a ball short of completing 20 overs. McCarthy and Simi took three wickets each.

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