Ireland looked set to reach the Super 10 stage of the World T20s this week, before an astonishing chase from Netherlands saw the Irish thwarted at the last.
Will Porterfield-lead Ireland knew that a victory would see them into the next round of group matches, with a showdown against England thrown in. And when they set a formidable 189-4 in their 20 overs, victory and progression looked all but certain.
This large total was made on the back of good contributions from Porterfield (47 from 32), Ed Joyce (28 from 25), Andrew Poynter (57 from 38) and Kevin O'Brien (42 from 16). Having seen off Test nation Zimbabwe as well as the UAE earlier in the group, Ireland were going into this match with confidence and form, but this counts for nothing in T20 cricket as Netherlands soon proved.
The Dutch knew that a quick start was needed and nine off the first over was considered poor going once the second over had been completed, with Stephen Myburgh taking 25 off Andy McBrine (including four sixes).
By the end of the six-over powerplay, the Netherlands had reached 91-1, Myburgh had reached his 50 from just 17 balls - including six sixes - and Peter Borren had made 31 from 15 before being out to the last ball of the sixth.
Myburgh hit another six in the next over, but was caught in the deep off the next ball to depart for a stunning 23-ball 63. Logan van Beek fell cheaply to O'Brien in the next over, but this just brought together Wesley Barresi and Tom Cooper, two of the more experienced players in the side.
This partnership began quickly before accelerating into the stratosphere as Cooper hit delivery after delivery into the stands. Cooper hit four sixes in a row off George Dockrell before falling in the following over for a 15-ball 45.
Needing to chase down the score before 14.2 overs to progress, at the end of the 12th over the Dutch needed just 26 from the next 13 balls. But it wasn't 13 balls that were needed, it was just 10 as Barresi and Ben Cooper continued to scythe the ball over the ropes.
Barresi then finished the game with a six off the fifth ball of the 14th over to see the Netherlands into the next round with one of the greatest chases in cricket history.
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