Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Clippings: Ireland beat Bangladesh

Bridgetown, April 16
The battle of attrition between the giant-killers in the cricket World Cup befittingly witnessed a reversal of sorts as Ireland registered a comprehensive 74-run victory over Bangladesh in a Super Eight encounter at the Kensington Oval here.
After handing out a shock defeat to Pakistan in the first round, Ireland beat Bangladesh in all departments of the game to record one more memorable victory in the mega event over another Test playing nation.
The impressive Sunday crowd, most of whom had purchased tickets much in advance to see a mouthwatering India-Pakistan clash, did not have to return home disappointed as the meeting of the minnows treated them with a hard-fought contest.
The Irishmen put up a challenging 243 for 7 on the board after electing to bat and overpowered Bangladesh for 169 in 41.2 overs.
Ireland bowlers put up an improved performance today and brought the Bangladesh batsmen under pressure by capturing wickets at regular intervals, which applied brakes on their scoring rate also.
With Tamim Iqbal (29 off 59 balls) and Mohammad Ashraful at the crease, Bangladesh had a brief chance for revival as both of them added 45 runs for the fourth wicket. But once Tamim was cleaned up by Irish skipper Trent Johnston, the Asian team never looked like heading for a win.
Ashraful (35 off 36 balls) was the best batsman for Bangladesh as he took on the challenge of Irish bowlers and played some entertaining shots, that contained some classy stuff as well as a few improvised strokes. The pint-sized batsman hit five boundaries and a big six before perishing to an unwarranted shot off Boyd Rankin to the fine-leg.
Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar never looked convincing in his approach and was responsible for several terrible mix-ups with Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Bashar, who also got a life, was a shadow of his own self and struggled to a 57-ball 32 before surrendering as the last man of his side.
Earlier, a patient 85 by opener William Porterfield and some late fireworks by the middle order guided Ireland to a competitive total.
Ireland stuck to their strategy of batting through the 50 overs and their openers laid a solid foundation by putting up a 92-run partnership.
Porterfield was the major architect of the Ireland innings as he stayed at the crease upto the 42nd over to ensure a sound scope for a respectable total.
His 136-ball 85, which contained only three fours, was a tale of patience and determination as he batted for nearly three hours to contribute two crucial partnerships.
Apart from the opening stand with Jeremy Bray (31 off 70 balls), his 48-run partnership with Kevin O'Brien provided a boost to the following batters to go after the Bangladesh bowlers in the slog overs.
After the departure of Porterfield, who was caught by Mohammad Rafique at fine-leg while trying to play an improvised shot off Musharafe Mortaza, Kevin (48 off 44 balls with two fours and two sixes) and Ireland skipper Trent Johnston (30 off 23 balls with two fours and a six) switched gears to gather some quick runs and give their bowlers a decent total to defend.
Lightening Bangladeshi fieldsmen and a prompt wicketkeeper in Mushfiqur Rahim put up an exciting exhibition of ground fielding that restricted Ireland from reaching the 250-run mark.
Bangladesh fielders, who effected four run outs, drew the first blood for the team in the 26th over. Left-arm spinner Sakibul Hasan dived to his right to gather a shot from Porterfield and in a flash threw it to Rahim, who dislodged the bails and sent Bray back to the pavillion.
Two overs later, Eoin Morgan played a shot to the midwicket and tried to steal a couple of runs. But an accurate and fast throw from the deep by Shahadat Hossain and Rahim's brilliant glovework saw the second Irish dismissal.
The third wicket fell sooner than later as Neil O'Brien (10) was claimed by Sakibul.
But that could not deter Ireland from posting a tough target for their opponents and ultimately come up trumps.
In their last Super Eight encounter, Ireland meet Sri Lanka in Grenada on April 18 while Bangladesh take on hosts the West Indies here on April 19.

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