Dernbach delivers in rain-dented contest
England 201 for 8 (Trott 69, Morgan 59) beat Ireland 117 for 8 (Dernbach 3-30) by 11 runs - D/L
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
England's new-look one-day team exacted a measure of revenge for their predecessors who were vanquished in that thrilling World Cup fixture in Bangalore, as Ireland's spirited bid for back-to-back victories against their nearest neighbours was thwarted first by the weather and then by a canny diet of slower balls and yorkers from Jade Dernbach and Ravi Bopara.
In what effectively became a match within a match after two lengthy rain delays had eaten 35 overs out of the day's allocation, Ireland were left needing 87 from the final ten overs of their run-chase, having gone into the second interruption on 42 for 2 after 13, following the early loss of both openers to Steven Finn.
In what looked suspiciously like a tactical decision, Will Porterfield ran himself out off the second ball of the resumption, whereupon the hero of Bangalore, Kevin O'Brien, monstered consecutive sixes off the debutant spinner, Scott Borthwick, to give a patient Dublin crowd the treat they had all turned up to see, and to give England an early reminder of the damage he could cause, following that seminal 113 from 63 balls at the World Cup.
While O'Brien was at the crease, anything seemed possible, as he bashed along to 26 from 15, with the pick of his strokes being an inside-out drive through extra cover off Samit Patel. However, Eoin Morgan, captaining England for the first time against his former countrymen, swiftly pulled his spinners from the attack, and turned to the seam variations of Dernbach and Bopara to regain control of the match.
The move was rewarded with three key wickets in as many overs. First, Niall O'Brien misread a slower-ball bouncer from Dernbach and holed out to deep square leg for 13; then Nigel Jones was exquisitely cleaned up by Bopara, whose back-of-the-hand delivery trimmed his bails as he went through his shot too soon. Kevin O'Brien added one more boundary to his tally when he picked a Dernbach slowie and pulled it through midwicket, but he wasn't ready for the change-up in pace, and was comprehensively yorked in the same over.
John Mooney, the unsung hero of that remarkable night in Bangalore, revived Ireland's hopes with a first-ball four and a crashing six over midwicket, but he too succumbed to Dernbach as he got underneath a lofted drive, and picked out Ben Stokes on the straight boundary.
With 12 balls remaining and 23 required, Patel returned to the attack with an exceptional over that went for four runs and included the wicket of Gary Wilson to an optimistic swipe, which left Dernbach to close out the game for figures of 3 for 30 in five overs, all but one of which came in the closing ten-over bash.
The frenetic finale was entirely at odds with the soporific start to the contest, in which Jonathan Trott - the only survivor of that Bangalore beating - dropped anchor in his habitual (and opinion-splitting) style to top-score for England with 69 from 105 balls. Morgan provided a spark of tempo against his former countrymen with a 65-ball 59, but Ireland's bowlers bowled with excellent discipline on a sluggish surface to restrict their opponents to 201 for 8 in 42 overs.
In showery conditions reminiscent of England's lucky escape in Belfast two years ago, run-scoring proved hard to master on a two-paced surface. Though he once again batted deep within his bubble in his first England appearance since he damaged his shoulder during the second Test against India at Trent Bridge, even Trott appeared frustrated with his progress at times, and when rain interrupted after 12.1 overs, he had reached 19 off 34 balls.
England lost two early wickets in that time. Craig Kieswetter's struggles against the moving ball continued in an unconvincing 26-ball 14, while James Taylor, the highly-rated young Leicestershire batsman, managed 1 from eight balls on debut before a short ball from Rankin got big on him, and he top-edged a loose pull to Wilson at midwicket.
Morgan's inventiveness, and a decent flurry from the tail, ensured England scraped over the 200-mark, but the rain prevented a proper contest from panning out. Given that Kevin O'Brien had been the one batsman all day to really get a grip of the surface, Ireland may well rue the overs that got away.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo