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Stirling 130, Porterfield 94 guides Ireland to 292

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 06:29

Innings Ireland 292 for 8 (Stirling 130, Porterfield 94, Jayed 5-58) v Bangladesh

Paul Stirling's eighth ODI century helped Ireland to 292 for 8 in 50 overs, a stern test for an experimental Bangladesh line-up. Stirling made 130 off 141 balls as he played the role of the enforcer through the first Powerplay, controlled the scoring in the middle overs and then again went after the bowling at the death. The only man to resist Ireland was Abu Jayed, who took 5 for 58 in his second ODI.

Stirling, who was Jayed's fourth wicket in the 47th over, was helped on the way by captain William Porterfield, whose 94 was his first half-century since March 2018. They added 174 in a record third-wicket stand for Ireland. It was a pivotal stand that took the home side to the above-average total.

Bangladesh also contributed to Ireland's big score by dropping Stirling twice off successive balls at the start of the third-wicket stand. They had also picked Liton Das, Mosaddek Hossain and Rubel Hossain to have a final look at their form and fitness before the World Cup, although Jayed stood out; he is the first Bangladesh pace bowler to take a five-for in ODIs since November 2015.

It was, however, Rubel who gave Bangladesh the first breakthrough, when he forced James McCollum to be caught at slip one ball after Stirling had slammed him for a huge six over long-on, in the fourth over.

Andrew Balbirnie struck four boundaries early in his innings, taking off from where he had finished during his 135 against West Indies in the previous game, but just when he had unfurled a beautiful shot off Abu Jayed, the seamer had him strangled down the leg side, Mushfiqur completing the grab. But replays were not conclusive, and Balbirnie looked distraught.

But Stirling, who had struck two fours and two sixes till that point, didn't let Bangladesh settle down as he reached a second consecutive fifty. Soon afterwards, he was dropped twice in consecutive balls too, on 57 and 58, when Sabbir Rahman, racing in from long-off, couldn't hold on to an inside-out drive. Next ball, Mohammad Saifuddin dropped a sitter at point off Shakib.

Porterfield, going through his own demons, then took a liking to Shakib, as he struck him for a boundary in each of his next four overs. But it wasn't until Stirling reached his century, in the 42nd over, did they go after Bangladesh's bowling.

Porterfield cracked Mashrafe for two big sixes over midwicket, and a four through cover, in the 43rd over, before slapping Jayed straight down sweeper cover's throat in the 45th over, six short of his century. Jayed had removed Kevin O'Brien earlier in the over, before getting Gary Wilson's wicket to complete his five-wicket haul.

Saifuddin, having recovered from a slight back injury, took two wickets in the last over as Ireland couldn't quite reach the 300-run mark, which would have given them a psychological boost. But the 98 runs the hosts picked up in the last ten overs would keep the momentum with them.

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