De Leede leads the Dutch to historic win in final T20I; Ireland take the series 2-1

Babette de Leede © Getty Images

History was made at the Malahide Cricket Club Ground in Dublin as the Netherlands beat Ireland for the very first time in the shortest format. A career-best 48 by Rebecca Stokell was not enough for Ireland as Babette de Leede’s unbeaten 62 led to a seven-wicket victory for the Dutch on Friday (July 30) in a rain-affected match. Ireland won the four-match series 2-1 with the second T20I getting washed out due to rain.

The Netherlands won the toss and decided to bowl first in the overcast conditions. As expected, Ireland made three changes to their playing XI, with Rachel Delaney, Georgina Dempsey and Celeste Raack replacing Orla Prendergast, Lara Maritz and Ava Canning. The tourists also made a change with Annemijn Thomson coming in for Isabel van der Woning.

Stokell and Gaby Lewis opened the batting for Ireland, and eight balls into the first innings, heavy showers halted the play for more than half an hour. After the play resumed, Lewis, the half-centurion from the previous match, lost her wicket trying to sweep Eva Lynch and Iris Zwilling took a brilliant catch at square leg, leaving Ireland at 17 for one in the second over.

Stokell was then joined by Laura Delany as the pair navigated through the power play, losing a wicket and adding 17 runs in four overs. The Dutch captain Heather Siegers brought herself to bowl as soon as the power play ended and straightway had an opportunity to remove her counterpart but the wicket-keeper Babette de Leede dropped an easy catch. Laura made the Dutch pay by adding 29 more runs to the team total.

After the brief second rain delay, Laura brought up the fifty partnership between herself and Stokell by hitting Frederique Overdijk for a perfect cut shot in the 11th over. Stokell then hit returning Silver Siegers for a six down the ground and in the very next over she brought her career-best score for Ireland in T20Is by hitting a beautiful pull shot against Hannah Landheer.

Another rain delay followed, and later Ireland batters came back on the field to face just two balls to finish their innings. Stokell had an opportunity to score her maiden international half-century but she was caught behind by de Leede off Landheer on 48. Ireland finished on two for 101 in 15 overs, giving a target of 118 for the Netherlands to win the final T20I of the series.

Playing without their tearaway opening bowlers in Prendergast and Canning, Ireland needed a good start in the power play and Sophie MacMahon provided it by taking the wicket of Iris Zwilling as Leah Paul took a simple catch at mid-wicket. Raack also struck in first over to see the back of the Dutch skipper Heather Siegers. And the Netherlands were struggling at 11 for two in just the second over.

It looked like Ireland were about to easily win the series but the in-form Miranda Veringmeier and de Leede had other plans. De Leede opened her account by smashing a loose delivery from Raack over square leg for a four. She also went after Leah Paul and scored 12 runs off her first over. She was ably supported by Veringmeier as the pair brought their partnership of 50 runs in just the eighth over.

Veringmeier was run out in the 12th over by the direct hit from Dempsey but it proved to be too little too late for the home side as de Leede kept her calm under pressure and along with Robine Rijke took the Netherlands home to a historic victory against Ireland.

Brief Score: Ireland 101/2 in 15 Overs (Rebecca Stokell 48; Eva Lynch 1/21) lost to Netherlands 119/3 in 13.3 overs (Babette de Leede 62*, Miranda Veringmeier 29; Celeste Raack 1/8 ) by 7 wickets (DLS method)