Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Irish hopes of Super50 success all but over

Niall O'Brien's 35 was the high point for Ireland

If Ireland are hoping to be invited back to the West Indies Super50 Regional Tournament, they are hardly going the right way about it.

A second defeat in two matches – the second to Guyana on Monday night, even more comprehensive than the first – leaves Ireland bottom of their group table and needing a couple of freak results if they are to reach next week's semi-finals.

The loss of John Mooney, to a stress-related illness, on the morning of the match was obviously a devastating blow to the squad and along with Paul Stirling, again missing because of his lower back problem, Ed Joyce still at home and the retirement of Trent Johnston, once again there were mitigating circumstances for defeat.

But not by six wickets – two of them in the last nine balls – with 21 overs to spare!

Ireland actually negotiated the hardest part in relative comfort. They expected the ball to move around at the start but captain William Porterfield had no hesitation in batting first because conditions were only going to harder.

Yet with Niall O'Brien, opening again, scoring 35 and Alex Cusack 30, Ireland were 87 for two at halfway and on course for 200.

But the three wickets in the space of 14 balls put an end to that and when Kevin O'Brien drove carelessly straight to backward point, Ireland's only objective was to bat out their 50 overs. They didn't manage that, scoring 38 from the next 11 overs while losing their last four wickets.

The bowlers – with Craig Young still being kept in cotton wool on the bench – hadn't a chance trying to defend such a low total. Stuart Thompson, who replaced Mooney, was given the new ball but his three overs went for 22. Cusack was again expensive, as was George Dockrell, this time in his 100th international, and was outbowled by Andy McBrine, who took his first wicket.

The biggest disappointment was the fielding, with no fewer than five dropped catches. Ireland's last group match, against the Windward Islands on Friday, is likely to be a dead rubber.

Scores: Ireland 161 (46.1 overs N O'Brien 35, A Cusack 30, W Porterfield 25; A Russell 3-19, J Taylor 3-34) Jamaica 166-4 (29 overs, J Campbell 71, M Sorensen 3-17). Jamaica won by six wickets.

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