Wolves hit back to set up crunch series decider
Just as they did in the 50-over series between the teams, Ireland Wolves bounced back to level the Twenty20 series with Bangladesh A yesterday and set up today's decider back at Malahide (4pm).
Yes, an Ireland team has won a T20 match, and they did it in some style, even if the match did not reach its natural conclusion.
In complete contrast to their underwhelming efforts last Monday, the Wolves - well, the Ireland senior team bar three players - scored 202-6, and then reduced Bangladesh A to 62-7 in the ninth over.
Only six more overs were possible before rain ended the match but, because of the early wickets, the Wolves won by 51 runs (DLS).
There is little doubt that Ireland have the firepower up front when they get their batting order right - and, significantly, the lower order was not exposed yesterday - but they scored at least one boundary in all but four of the 20 overs, and the runs were divided almost equally in the first 10 overs and last 10.
With nine wickets in hand at the halfway stage, most teams would expect to more than double their total from there, but let's not expect too much at this stage.
Stuart Thompson set the tone with 14 from the second over, including three successive fours, and William Porterfield, after a slow start, was accelerating well when he was leg before wicket, five short of his half century.
The first wicket to fall had been Gareth Delany, promoted from outside the named 13-man squad, but he showed that if those waiting in the wings are given their chance then they are more than capable of taking it.
Delany, who hit his second, third and fourth balls to the boundary, and added two sixes to his five fours while making 45 from just 15 balls, was waiting last night to see if he had made the cut for next week's T20 internationals against Afghanistan in Bready, but with the squad selected on Wednesday night - although it will not be revealed until this morning - he may be agonisingly just too late.
Kevin O'Brien, promoted up the order as the second wicket did not fall until the 14th over, also joined the fun with 30 from 13 balls, including two sixes.
Andy McBrine then struck twice in three balls in his second over, and when David Delany claimed the next two wickets with the first ball of his first two overs, the Wolves were in control - and this time they did not let their prey off the hook.
S Thompson c Haque b Taijul 47
G Delany c Nazmul b Uddin 37
W Porterfield lbw b Taijul 45
K O'Brien run out 30
S Singh c Shariful b Uddin 12
A Balbirnie c Nazmul b Uddin 18
L Tucker not out 0
Extras (1b 5lb 6w 1nb) 13
Total (6 wkts, 20 overs) 202
Did not bat: L Tucker, G Dockrell, D Delany, A McBrine, B McCarthy
Fall: 1-58 2-133 3-146 4-178 5-192 6-202
Bowling: Nayeem Hasan 4-0-38-0, Shariful Islam 4-0-43-1, Afif Hossain 2-0-25-0, Shaif Uddin 4-0-33-3, Soumya Sarkar 3-0-30-0, Taijul Islam 3-0-27-2
Mominul Haque c D Delany b McBrine 14
Soumya Sarkar c Balbirnie b D Delany 11
Nazmul Hossain b McBrine 0
Mo Mithun c Balbirnie b D Delany 6
Zakir Hasan c Dockrell b Singh 14
Al Amin jnr b Dockrell 12
Afif Hossain c G Delany b McCarthy 3
Shaif Uddin not out 15
Nayeem Hasan not out 24
Extras 2lb 3w) 5
Total (7 wks, 15 overs) 104
Did not bat: Shariful Islam, Taijul Islam
Fall: 1-24 2-24 3-26 4-38 5-47 6-57 7-62
Bowling: A McBrine 4-0-25-2, B McCarthy 3-0-25-1, D Delany 2-0-15-2, S Singh 2-0-10-1, G Dockrell 2-0-11-1, S Thompson 2-0-16-0
Ireland Wolves won by 51 runs (DLS)