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Tim Murtagh's race against the clock for World Cup finals


Untimely break: Tim Murtagh a doubt for World Cup finals

Untimely break: Tim Murtagh a doubt for World Cup finals

©INPHO/Presseye/Rowland White

Untimely break: Tim Murtagh a doubt for World Cup finals

Cricket Ireland are set to confirm this week that Tim Murtagh has broken a bone in his foot and is in a race against time to be fit to take any part in the World Cup finals.

The only communication so far from CI is that Murtagh "sustained a foot injury during Ireland's training session in Dubai" on Wednesday and has returned to London to "undergo a further medical assessment".

I understand, however, that a fracture was diagnosed before he left the UAE and the advice was for Ireland's most experienced bowler to rest for up to six weeks. Ireland's first match in the World Cup, against West Indies, is now exactly five weeks away.

There is a nine-day gap between Ireland's first match and the second, against UAE, when Ireland would expect to cope without Murtagh. So there is still seven weeks before Ireland take on South Africa, on March 3 in their third group game.

Ireland face Scotland today in their second match of the Tri-Series in Dublin but, without Murtagh, Ireland managed a morale-boosting three wickets win over Afghanistan on Saturday.

On a spin-friendly pitch, George Dockrell showed a timely return to form with four wickets as the Afghans were bowled out for 180 but the batting was not as convincing and it needed an unbeaten eighth wicket stand of 52 between Alex Cusack and Andrew Balbirnie to see Ireland home.

Scores: Afghanistan 180 (44.2 overs, J Ahmadi 81, Najibullah 45; G Dockrell 4-35, J Mooney 2-36) Ireland 181-7 (43.2 overs, E Joyce 51, A Balbirnie 31, K O'Brien 30, A Cusack 26 not out, N O'Brien 22; J Ahmadi 4-37, M Nabi 2-39). Ireland won by three wickets.

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