It is said that catches win matches but run-outs are just as important and Ireland changed the course of yesterday’s one-day international against Canada at Castle Avenue with three out of the top drawer.
The Maple Leafs had endured three nightmare days in the field on this trip to Dublin but, in their final outing, they upped their game and restricted Ireland to 249 for seven in their 50 overs, some 79 runs fewer than on Monday.
When Canada replied with 82 for one in the 17th over, the leading Associate country knew they needed something special and, from his position at cover point the captain, William Porterfield, delivered.
He not only stopped a rasping drive but turned and threw in the same movement. It was all so quick that Niall O’Brien still had time to take the bails off and Nitesh Kumar was short of his ground.
Either side of this memorable effort, Trent Johnston’s direct hit from mid-off and George Dockrell’s throw from short fine leg had also sent batsman back to the pavilion and when the big-hitting Rizwan Cheema skied his seventh ball to John Mooney at long-off, it was suddenly 105 for five and Ireland were in control.
With Johnston completing a full 10 overs, Boyd Rankin bowling more consistently and spin twins George Dockrell and Albert van der Merwe conceding just 64 runs in their 20 overs, it completed a polished day in the field.
Van der Merwe got his place because Paul Stirling had to pull out with a recurrence of the neck injury he sustained last week and he was missed as Ireland managed just 26 runs in the first eight overs.
But Porterfield hit his second successive 50 and Kevin O’Brien scored 43 off 36 balls on the used pitch where 250 always seemed likely to be a winning total. The fielding made sure and coach Phil Simmons was drooling.
“That was unbelievable fielding,” he said. “Canada fielded well this morning but we then showed how superior we are to them. That was the difference today.”