On a weekend that has already produced far more than its fair share of drama, Ireland’s Stuart Poynter supplied a spectacular finish against Netherlands to keep the thrills coming.
Needing seven runs off four balls to win with three wickets in hand, Ireland looked to be edging a tight contest, only for two wickets in two balls to bring the Dutch side back into it. With six needed to win, wicket-keeper Poynter turned down a single off the penultimate ball, backing himself to hit the last ball for a match-winning six, which he duly did. It is just the fourth time in T20I history that a game has been won by one wicket off the last ball, and the first time it has been done so with a six.
As if Kusal Perera’s heroics and Melbourne Stars’ implosion weren’t enough drama for one weekend, there was more ridiculousness in Ireland’s T20I against Netherlands, where @spoynter_90 hit a last-ball six to seal a one-wicket win.
How good is cricket?! https://t.co/3Up6BdGARD
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) February 17, 2019
The game had been a pulsating one even before the historic finish. Poynter’s Dutch counterpart behind the sticks Tobias Visee got the contest off to a rollicking start, smashing 78 off 36 as the Netherlands raced to 116/0 in nine overs. But after he was dismissed by George Dockrell’s left-arm spin, Ireland surged back into the contest. Medium pacer Stuart Thompson’s three-wicket over gutted the Netherland’s middle order, and after their blistering opening stand, could only finish on 182-8, a total which Ireland’s captain Paul Stirling rated as “a little under par” after the game’s conclusion.
It looked for a time as if Ireland would canter home, with Andrew Balbirnie’s 50-ball 83 driving them to 144-3 after 16 overs, needing under 10 an over in the last four. But when he and Shane Getkate were dismissed in the same Paul van Meekeren over, a close finish looked on the cards. In the end, it took the smallest margin in T20I history to separate the sides.
The game was both side’s last in the Quadrangular Series in Oman. Both teams ended their campaigns with two wins and a loss, with Ireland finishing below the Netherlands in third on net run rate.