Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Cricket: Ireland have big plans after washout

Spectators brave the elements at Stormont but it was to be a fruitless wait as they only got to see 10.4 overs

The glamour international match of the season may have lasted less than 11 overs, thus depriving the Ireland team of match practice against the world’s No 1 ranked one-day side, but more important matches lie ahead.

As Australia changed their plans and flew straight to London after a Stormont international was weather affected for the 22nd time (out of 39), Ireland captain William Porterfield was already looking forward to the team’s next assignment.

“It was disappointing we didn’t get a full game of cricket because we have only a 10-day turnaround before Afghanistan. They (the two one-day internationals) are more important because they are World Cup qualifiers and that is still what we are all about,” he said.

“We have to be on the world stage at the major tournaments and, having fought to get Associates back in the World Cup, we have to be there.”

Niall O’Brien, who finished 11 not out on his return to the side when the rain cut short Ireland’s innings on 36 for three, agreed.

“They’re very important matches, much more important than this, and we’ll be looking for a couple of wins to keep us top of the (World Cricket League) table and pushing towards Australia 2015,” he said.

O’Brien, playing his 120th game for Ireland and his 50th ODI, needed all his experience when he came to the middle, at No 4, to face the fourth ball of the match without a run on the board against a fired-up and accurate Brett Lee.

Porterfield, first ball, and Ed Joyce, second ball, had both been clean bowled, but O’Brien and Paul Stirling (24 off 27 balls) gave the crowd something to cheer.

Cricket Ireland have announced that every ticket can be exchanged for a free ticket to either of the two games against Afghanistan in Clontarf, on July 3 and 5, or one of the three T20 clashes against Bangladesh at Stormont on July 18, 20 and 21.

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Alex Hales proved he can be the match-winner to replace Kevin Pietersen after the opener blasted England to a seven-wicket win over West Indies in the one-off NatWest Twenty20 international at Trent Bridge.

Hales fell just one run short of his century — but still the highest ever score by an England batsmen — when bowled by Ravi Rampaul.

England 173-3 (19.4 overs) beat West Indies 172-4 (20 overs) by seven wickets

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