Bangladesh at the double
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Bangladesh opened their Ireland tour with two convincing wins at Comber yesterday and while, hopefully, much tougher challenges lie ahead, starting tomorrow with the first of three T20 internationals against Ireland, they have set the standard for the week.
An Ireland XI, in the first match of the day, needed 16 off the last over just to get into three figures and were soundly beaten by seven wickets with almost six overs to spare, while the NCU Select XI, in the evening contest, were on a disappointing 61 for five after 13.2 overs, in reply to Bangladesh’s 164 for five, when rain ended the contest.
The home bowlers took only eight wickets in 35 overs while the Tigers rattled up 271, so the gap was there for all to see, but with only two members of this week's Irish squad on view the tourists must have expected a gentle warm-up - and the home sides did not disappoint.
The Ireland XI innings was dominated by Nigel Jones, a member of the winning World Twenty20 qualifying squad but not selected for this week’s matches. He finished 41 not out, batting at No 6, from just 26 balls, including the only three sixes of the innings.
Andrew White, who will be at Stormont this week, although by no means certain of a place in the first choice XI, was a distant second best on 16 while Andrew Poynter, a member of the team who played in the Dubai final in March, was caught behind first ball.
Stuart Thompson picked up where he left off on his senior debut in last week’s Intercontinental Cup clash against Afghanistan with an impressive pacey burst with the new ball. He took the only two wickets in the first 12 overs and by the time White claimed the third, Bangladesh were just 11 runs from victory, thanks to a run-a-ball 37 by Shakib-al-Hasan, the world’s best all-rounder, and 40 off just 25 balls from captain Mushfiqar Rahim.
The Tigers rested both batsmen from the second match, as well as opening bowlers Mashrafe Mortaza and Shafiul Islam, but they were still much too strong for the NCU Select, boosted by Thompson, Brigade all-rounder Johnny Thompson and Poynter.
But while Johnny Thompson impressed with three overs for just 11 runs, including the wicket of the dangerous Tamim Iqbal, Poynter was out for just three as not one batsmen reached 20.