Stirling effort defeats Dutch
Paul Stirling’s blistering hundred set up a second 2011 World Cup victory for Ireland, who saw off the Netherlands by six wickets at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
The 20-year-old opening batsman hit 101 from 72 balls, featuring 14 fours and two sixes, before Ireland reached a target of 307 with 14 deliveries to spare.
Stirling shared a 177-run opening stand with captain Will Porterfield, who made a steady 68, and wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien added an unbeaten 57 as Ireland finished sixth in Group B, with the winless Dutch bottom.
"We've played some good consistent cricket throughout this tournament and that's what we're asking for," said Porterfield. "We're pretty happy with where we're at now."
Ryan ten Doeschate's second World Cup century and captain Peter Borren's 84 from 82 balls saw the Netherlands survive a difficult start in this dead-rubber tie.
Having won the toss, Ireland seized control as seamers Trent Johnston, Boyd Rankin and John Mooney grabbed a wicket each inside 11 overs, but the loss of spinner George Dockrell to injury and ten Doeschate's firepower halted their progress.
The all-rounder backed up his 119 against England with 106 off 108 deliveries, and was part of two crucial partnerships of 60 and 121 with Wesley Barresi, who made 44, and Borren respectively.
Ireland were undone by some loose bowling, especially from Rankin, whose nine overs cost 74, but they did show glimpses of their fielding prowess, managing four run-outs in the final over to bowl the Netherlands out.
Both sides suffered early injury blows with Barresi struck on the head by a return throw from Kevin O'Brien in the first over, forcing him to temporarily retire, but Dockrell was forced off permanently after hurting his shoulder while making a diving stop off his own bowling.
Ireland soon had reason for optimism as Eric Szwarczynski was caught behind off Johnston and Tom Cooper located point off Rankin in quick succession after Barresi's temporary absence.
Ten Doeschate had already begun the recovery when Barresi returned after Alexei Kervezee picked out short extra-cover off Mooney.
Barresi kept his cool and ten Doeschate struck seven boundaries to reach his half-century in 65 deliveries.
The duo put the Netherlands in cruise control through the middle overs, and ten Doeschate then began a second big stand with Borren after Barresi was trapped lbw by Stirling.
Both Borren and ten Doeschate reached their respective landmarks in quick succession but the latter's attempts at cutting loose off Stirling cost him his wicket as he holed out to long-off.
Borren and Atse Buurman, who hit 26, added 53 in seven overs to take the total past 300, but the final over brought much-needed respite for Ireland, with Buurman, Mudassar Bukhari, Pieter Seelaar and Adeel Raja departing.
In reply, Ireland raced away to 81 without loss in the mandatory powerplay as Stirling took all of 25 deliveries to bring up his half-century. And he refused to ease up on the tempo en route to a ton off just 70 balls.
Porterfield, meanwhile, survived being dropped twice - before and after reaching his fifty - but could not build much as he was caught behind by Buurman off Cooper.
Seelaar fortuitously snared Stirling, who pulled a long-hop to deep midwicket in the next over, and, while Ed Joyce and O' Brien steadied things quickly to put on 54, Cooper had Joyce caught behind for 28 to leave a few nervy faces in the Ireland camp.
Despite the late fall of Gary Wilson, who top-edged a pull off ten Doeschate to wicketkeeper Buurman to depart for 27, O'Brien's gutsy hitting soon put paid to all concerns as younger brother Kevin heralded victory with a six.
"Young Paul Stirling's had a bit of a rough tournament," Borren said. "But he's come out today and he's given it to us."
"On these types of wickets if you don't get it right with the ball, then you're going to go for plenty of runs."