Bangladesh batter Ireland
Nick Royle (Setanta)
For the second game in succession against a Test nation, Ireland's cricketers were confronted by the gap between aspirations and actuality.
Bangladesh thrashed the Irish by 71 runs in Wednesday's Twenty20 international at Stormont, a result that Ireland captain William Porterfield accepted was "a big defeat in this form of the game."
It follows on from June's one-day international against Australia at the same venue, where Ireland limped to 36-3 off 10.4 overs before the rains mercifully came to curtail Brett Lee's pace bowling masterclass.
Bangladesh are widely accepted to be the whipping boys of the Test-playing nations, so this defeat at Belfast highlights the progression needed for Ireland to break cricket's glass ceiling and achieve their goal of becoming the eighth-ranked ODI team by 2015.
Porterfield won the toss and chose to bowl against Bangladesh, a decision soon regretted as opener Tamin Iqbal (31 from 31 balls) and number three Shakib Al Hasan (57 from 33 balls) had the Tigers easing along at eight an over.
Paul Stirling's off spin accounted for the pair of them, but Mahmudullah (23 off 15 balls) and Ziaur Rahman (40 not out off 17) thrashed some late runs as Bangladesh closed their innings on 190-5 off 20 overs, their highest ever total in a t20 international.
To win the game, Ireland would have had to surpass their own highest score in a t20 international, the 172-8 they amassed when losing to Canada in 2010.
They set off on the right track, with Porterfield taking eight from the first over from Mashrafe Mortaza, then 14 off the first three balls of Abul Hasan's opening over.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim immediately turned to the spinners, with Abdur Razzak (2-9) and Elias Sunny (5-13, the third best figures of all time in a t20 international) taking the pace off the ball and regularly taking Ireland wickets in the process. Ireland eventually finished on 119-8 off their 20 overs.
That they got to that score was down to Gary Wilson, who showed great poise to accumulate 41 not out from 36 balls in the latter stages of the innings. Yet it was only really batting practice for the Surrey star, with any hope of an Ireland victory long gone.
Porterfield admitted that he misread the pitch at the toss, and expected the green tinged wicket to help his seam attack.
"We did not expect the ball to turn as much as it did in that second innings. In hindsight, we would have gone in with more spinners," he said.
Porterfield hinted that Ireland will go in the second t20 against Bangladesh on Friday with two frontline spinners, as George Dockrell will be available after Under-19 duty against England on Wednesday.
"Dockers is away with the Under-19 squad, but we had Andrew White here today, and if things had been different we would have played two spinners," he said.
"We are going to be on either a similar wicket, or the same wicket, for the next game on Friday so it is something we need to put right."
Wilson was disappointed by Ireland's performance, but believes that that they can come back to win the three-match series.
"We have been battered today. We were a little bit off with the ball, and in the field, and we did not have our normal spark," he said.
"But I believe that we are more than good enough to beat Bangladesh in the next two games, and take a 2-1 series win."
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