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Paul Stirling in fitness race to revive rusty Ireland

By Ian Callender

Paul Stirling has a chance of playing in Ireland's second game at the Super50 tournament in Trinidad tonight after scans revealed only a muscle problem in his lower back.

The Middlesex batsman was badly missed as Ireland crashed to a 114 runs defeat to Guyana in Friday's opening game and only a win, against Jamaica tonight, is likely to keep alive Ireland's hopes of reaching the semi finals.

Ireland can only improve on their opening performance – as they invariably do in tournament competition – but they paid the price for arriving just two days ahead of the game.

There were obvious signs of rustiness throughout the team with Andrew Poynter – playing only because Stirling wasn't – on his return to the team for the first time in 18 months, top scoring with 54 and Kevin O'Brien hitting a typically fast 39 off 35 balls.

Max Sorensen also impressed more the bat than the ball, scoring a run-a-ball 29 but by then the game was up. The all-rounder came to the middle with Ireland on 113 for six chasing Guyana's 301 for three!

Kevin O'Brien took all the wickets with Andy McBrine, in only his second international, the only other bowler worth a mention, his 10 overs going for just 34 runs.

Scores: Guyana 301-3 (R Sarwan 89, S Chanderpaul 79, T Griffith 62; K O'Brien 3-56) Ireland 187 (38.3 overs, A Poynter 54, K O'Brien 39, M Sorensen 29). Guyana won by 114 runs.

* ENGLAND'S tour of Australia ended with a 12th defeat in 13 international matches, when they lost the third T20 game in Sydney by 84 runs. Eoin Morgan top scored with 34 as England were bowled out for 111 in 17.2 overs in reply to Australia's 195 for six.

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