Ireland fell to a slick Netherlands side in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament on Friday, but their place at next year's World Cup finals in Australia had already been assured.

Graham Ford's side had emerged from Group B in the Qualifier event to make the semis, which sealed their ticket to the main event.

The Dutch turned them over today and so Ireland will now play in the third-placed play-off tomorrow morning against the loser of this afternoon's Papua New Guinea v Namibia encounter.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bowl first. They made a fine start too.

Mark Adair (0-31) and Boyd Rankin (1-17) bowled probing opening overs, not letting the Dutch batters get any momentum through the powerplay. 

Craig Young (2-39) was then brought into the attack in the fourth over and immediately struck, with Harry Tector hanging on to a tough chance at point to dismiss Max O’Dowd (14). Young quickly followed up to bowl Colin Ackermann, which left the Netherlands 32-2 at the end of six overs.

Netherlands captain Pietaar Seelaar (21) and Ben Cooper (37) stabilised the innings, scoring a steady 44-run stand in just under six overs - but Rankin then removed Seelaar and Gareth Delany (1-26) deceived Ben Cooper leaving the Netherlands on 102-4 with five overs left.

Those wickets, however, brought the experienced Ryan ten Doeschate and Roelof van der Merwe together – the pair piling on the runs with a 56-run unbroken partnership from the last 30 balls. The Dutch side finished on 158-4, which most experts considered 15-20 runs above par score.

Ireland needed a good start to their response and they got it from Paul Stirling (29) and Kevin O’Brien (22). The pair let loose in the opening overs, making yet another half-century stand - this one in just over six overs.

However, the shift in the momentum of the game once again came from van der Merwe who, bowling in tandem with Seelaar, brought the Netherlands right back into the game by removing O’Brien and Stirling in quick succession. 

Gareth Delany and Andy Balbirnie tried to consolidate with a 27-run stand, but with the loss of Delany with the score on 84, Ireland’s middle order collapsed. In all, seven wickets fell for 24 runs and Ireland found themselves out of contention to make the final.

George Dockrell (25*) and Boyd Rankin (8*) put some respectability into the final total, but after 20 overs the Netherlands were victors by 21 runs.

"Having won the toss, we were disappointed for them to score 160," said captain Wilson afterwards.

"They have a lot of experience in their middle order with Ryan ten Doeschate, Colin Ackermann and Roelof van der Merwe. We have a lot of talent in our squad but we perhaps don’t quite have the same level of experience as that and I thought they were excellent in the middle overs.

"Playing in the heat has been very tough, we’ve been out here for five weeks now so we’ve got a bit more used to it but it is still hard enough."