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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 15:40 UK

Irish qualify for 2011 World Cup

ICC World Cup Qualifier, Pretoria:
Ireland 226-4 (44.3 overs) beat Netherlands 222 (50 overs) by 6 wkts

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan produced a brilliant knock in Pretoria

Ireland secured a berth at the 2011 World Cup by defeating the Netherlands by six wickets in Wednesday's qualifier in Pretoria.

The Irish restricted the Dutch to 222 on a decent pitch with Alex Cusack and Boyd Rankin both taking three wickets.

Captain William Porterfield hit 78 while Eoin Morgan struck a 62-ball 76 as the Irish moved to 177-1 in reply.

Ireland then had a mini wobble as they lost three wickets before being guided home by Kevin O'Brien and Andrew White.

The Irish have won six out of their seven games in the qualifying event in South Africa, with their only defeat Saturday's shock reverse against Afghanistan.

Phil Simmons' side are now guaranteed one of the four qualifying spots on offer at the event in South Africa.

The Irish have qualified for Sunday's final with Canada their likely opposition.

Canada were shocked by the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday but the north Americans should make the decider if they avoid a heavy defeat against Holland on Friday.

Despite Alexei Nicolaas Kervezee's 77, the Dutch were unable to build any substantial partnerships with Bastiaan Zuiderent's 27 the next highest score.

The Netherlands were without star all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate who has returned to Essex for the start of the English domestic season.

Boyd Rankin
Boyd Rankin claimed three wickets in the Dutch innings

After being 22-2, the Dutch threatened to post a decent total when they moved to 163-4 with Kervezee hitting six fours and two sixes.

But Niall O'Brien stumped the opener off Cusack's bowling to halt Dutch momentum.

Peter Connell claimed two wickets with Regan West and Trent Johnston also taking dismissals.

Irish captain Porterfield and Gary Wilson put on 60 for the opening wicket before the right-hander was caught by Dutch captain Jeroen Smits off Peter Borren's bowling.

Morgan's arrival quickened the Irish scoring rate as he hit five fours and four sixes in a superb 76, showing the kind of form that has impressed England's World Twenty20 selectors.

The Middlesex player and Porterfield put on 117 for the second wicket before Morgan was caught by Edgar Schiferli off a Mudassar Bukhari delivery.

Porterfield was then run out and O'Brien departed soon after as the Irish slipped to 198-4.

Captain William Porterfield has set a wonderful example in the field

Ireland team manager Roy Torrens

However, Kevin O'Brien (13 not out) and Andrew White (14 not out) guided the Irish past the Dutch total with over five overs to spare to secure their passage to the 2011 tournament.

Ireland enjoyed a memorable 2007 World Cup in the West Indies as they sensationally defeated Pakistan and tied with Zimbabwe on the way to qualifying for the Super Eights.

Irish team manager Roy Torrens paid tribute to the squad's displays in South Africa.

"We are obviously delighted to have achieved our primary objective which was to qualify for the World Cup," said Torrens.

"Now we must maintain the momentum and win the final on Sunday.

"We loved every minute of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and everyone has worked so hard to reach the finals again.

"Captain William Porterfield has set a wonderful example in the field.

"I rate him among the best in the world and his exploits rub off on the rest of the squad," added Torrens.

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see also
Irish on brink of World Cup place
13 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Afghanistan clinch win over Irish
11 Apr 09 |  Ireland
Ireland beat Canada in qualifier
06 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Irish clinch victory over Uganda
04 Apr 09 |  Cricket
O'Brien stars in Ireland victory
02 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Ireland defeat Scotland in opener
01 Apr 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Cup Qualifier
04 Apr 09 |  Cricket

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