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Ireland fall flat in their final preparations for world battle

By Ian Callender

Ireland may be favourites to fill one of the top two places in the World Twenty20 Qualifying tournament, starting next Tuesday, but they head to the UAE with plenty to think about after losing their final warm-up game to Eastern Province in Port Elizabeth.

A much stronger side than the one which Ireland defeated by 63 runs on Monday exposed the Irish batting line-up as they were dismissed for 127 with two balls unused, in pursuit of the South Africans’ 148.

Just as worrying for the Ireland side was that the bowlers, strengthened by the return of Boyd Rankin, Trent Johnston and Alex Cusack who were left out of Monday’s game, took only three wickets.

The fielding was far from perfect either with EP captain Michael Smith, who finished 47 not out, badly dropped on 17 and his partner in the unbroken partnership of 77, James Price, also missed when he was on just two.

George Dockrell had to wait to the third over for his third wicket and wasn’t given a fourth despite conceding just eight runs while Andrew White was the only other wicket-taker, with the pace bowlers drawing a blank. Indeed, Rankin (0-15) was the only other bowler to concede less than eight runs an over. Johnston’s two overs cost 22 and Cusack, bowling at the death, conceded 25 from his three.

It all looked so promising for Ireland, who rested Paul Stirling after his century on Monday, as they led their hosts at the same stage until the 17th over.

Kevin O’Brien, opening in place of Stirling, hit 19 from eight balls and captain William Porterfield made his highest score of the tour, hitting two fours and two sixes in 48, from 42 balls. No-one else, apart from Rankin, bettered a run-a-ball and Ireland collapsed horribly, losing their last seven wickets in 32 balls for just 27 runs in a desperate pursuit of runs.



S Adair lbw b White 16

W Bell c Joyce b White 32

C Ackermann b Dockrell 6

J Price not out 42

M Smith not out 47

Extras (4lb 1nb) 5

Total (3 wickets 20 overs) 148

Did not bat: J Dolley, L Vaaltyn, S Magala, A Kula, N Howard

Fall: 1-19, 2-44 3-71

Bowling: G Dockrell 3-0-8-1 T Johnston 2-0-22-0, A White 3-0-29-2, B Rankin 4-0-15-0, J Mooney 4-0-29-0 A Cusack 3-0-25-0 K O’Brien 1-0-16-0


K O’Brien c Smith b Magala 19

W Porterfield c Vaaltyn b Ackermann 48

A Cusack c Ackermann b Gidana 2

G Wilson c Bell b Kula 12

E Joyce b Vaaltyn 15

A White c Ackermann b Magala 4

J Mooney c Dolley b Howard 3

T Johnston run out 3

M Sorensen not out 1

B Rankin b Magela 6

G Dockrell c Dolley b Magala 2

Extras (3lb 9w) 12

Total (19.4 overs) 127

Fall: 1-28, 2-40, 3-75 4-100 5-108 6-112 7-118 8-118 9-125

Bowling: S Magala 3.4-0-28-4, N Howard 3-0-21-1, S Gidana 3-0-21-1, W Bell 2-0-13-0, C Ackermann 4-0-22-1, A Kula 2-0-11-1, L Vaaltyn 2-0-8-1

Eastern Province won by 21 runs.

Belfast Telegraph

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