Sunny spell leaves Ireland mired in the gloom
Emmet Riordan (irish Times)
IRELANDíS 10-MATCH unbeaten run in Twenty20 internationals came to a shuddering halt in Belfast last night as they went down to a comprehensive 71-run defeat to Bangladesh in the first of the three-game RSA Series at Stormont.
And with Irelandís cricketers and supporters having waited months for some sunny weather to break the gloom, it was a five-wicket haul from Bangladesh slow bowler Elias Sunny that did the damage as Phil Simmonsís side finished on 119 for eight having been set a massive task in chasing down a total of 190.
With further matches to come at the venue tomorrow and Saturday, Ireland will have a chance to make up for what was a poor performance just two months out from the start of the World Twenty20 finals in Sri Lanka.
Ireland made their bow in that competition with a brilliant six-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Nottingham back in 2009, but last night it was the touring Tigers that held the whip hand throughout despite losing the toss and being put in to bat in a game that started half an hour late.
They certainly dispelled any ideas that they might struggle in wet Irish conditions as they went on to post 190 for five from their 20 overs, led by a brilliant 57 off 33 balls from the mercurial Shakib Al Hasan.
The 25-year-old was bowled by Paul Stirling off the first ball of the 14th over but there was to be no let-up as Bangladesh clobbered 69 runs from the last five overs, with Ziaur Rahman doing most of the damage with an unbeaten 40 from 17 balls, including five sixes.
Ireland skipper William Porterfield hit two maximums in a strong start to their reply before departing for 26. Big-hitter Paul Stirling was run out for four five balls later, before Bangladeshís slow bowlers took over to great effect.
Left-armers Sunny and Abdur Razzak ran through Irelandís middle order, with Sunny finishing with figures of five for 13 off his four overs.
Gary Wilson was the only batsman to make a fist of it, the Surrey wicket-keeper finishing unbeaten on 41 and sharing in an unbeaten ninth-wicket stand of 47 with Max Sorensen that saw Ireland close on 119 for eight.