Balbirnie Stars as Ireland beat Bangladesh by four wickets

Thu, Feb 12, 2015 2:01 PM

Ireland put Tuesday's disappointing defeat to Scotland well and truly behind them in Sydney when William Porterfield's men recorded an impressive four wicket win over Bangladesh at Blacktown.

An excellent performance in the field set the catalyst for the morale-boosting victory, Mashrafe Mortaza's men never really able to impose themselves having been put in to bat on another very humid day.

Ireland opted to go with the new ball pairing of John Mooney and Max Sorensen and these two gave their side the ideal start with an early wicket apiece. A 58-run stand between Soumya Sarkar (45) and Anamul Haque (25) then put the brakes on the bowling side's good start and offered Bangladesh some hope.

Sorensen (3-31) and Mooney (3-32) were soon back on target however after Andy McBrine (1-11) had ended the revival by removing Haque.

A defiant 44 run partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim (26) and Sabbir Rahman (20) threatened to let the batsmen back in, however Ireland kept the pressure firmly on. In the end it took a late 22 from skipper Mortaza to get the Tigers up to 189 all out with little more than an over of their innings left.

Testament to Ireland's display in the field was that they conceded just six boundaries in the entire innings- Kevin O'Brien (1-39) and George Dockrell (1-24) completing a fine day with the ball for their side.

The target may have looked below par but Ireland needed to put a really soft batting effort against the Scots behind them if they were to chase it down.

The early loss of Paul Stirling (5) upset the momentum a little and when William Porterfield (24) was followed back to the pavilion by Niall O'Brien and Gary Wilson the match was back in the balance again at 78-4.

Ed Joyce and Andrew Balbirnie restored order, with the latter taking the game by the scruff of the neck, striking the ball cleanly and powerfully, partculary through his favoured off side.

Joyce was content to rotate the strike as he made a really composed 47 in a 59-run stand and when he departed, Balbirnie and Kevin O'Brien took Ireland to the brink of an impressive win. The latter was out just before the end for a 16-ball 23 (4 fours), but Balbirnie and John Mooney saw it through for the win with 19 balls to spare.

Balbirnie finished unbeaten on 63 from 79 balls (6 fours) - a really excellent knock in the circumstances, sending his side on the flight to New Zealand with confidence fully restored ahead of their opening Group B match against the West Indies that starts on Sunday night Irish time (10 pm).

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