Ireland v Namibia, Intercontinental Cup, Stormont, 3nd day September 8, 2011

Bowlers, Stirling put Ireland on verge of win

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland 298 and 135 for 4 (Stirling 54, Cusack 42) trail Namibia 244 and 226 by 37 runs with six wicket remaining
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A late collapse from Namibia and a quick half-century from Paul Stirling left Ireland with just 38 more to get, with six wickets in hand, to win the Intercontinental Cup match. A couple of strikes from Louis van der Westhuizen just before stumps gave Namibia a window of hope going in to the fourth day but it is a small one, as Ireland's centurion from the first innings Andrew White is still at the wicket along with his captain Kevin O'Brien.

Namibia were 124 for 2 at one stage in their innings, but ended up being bowled out for 226, leaving Ireland 173 to win. It was not a straightforward chase given the highest total of the game had been 298, but Stirling attacked Namibia and Ireland were cruising at 75 for 1. He was trapped lbw by Stephan Baard but Alex Cusack guided the chase with a steady 42, before van der Westhuizen gave Namibia the slightest of openings.

Stirling made his intentions clear early, hitting the fourth ball he faced for a six over fine leg. Louis Klazinga was the recipient of most of the punishment, and Stirling took him for three boundaries in the ninth over, two through point and one to midwicket. Stirling looked like he wanted to finish the game on the third day itself, and smashed Baard for two boundaries to long-on in the 15th over before he missed one and was caught in front. The scoring did not slow too much once he was gone though, and Ireland finished the day on 135 for 4 from just 32 overs.

Namibia's day started badly with Stephanus Ackermann falling in the first over, caught at extra-cover off John Mooney. Christi Viljoen, who had started aggressively on the second day, looked to play the anchor role while Namibia captain Craig Williams went for his shots, hitting eight fours in his 40 off 43 balls. George Dockrell, who took five wickets in the first innings, had Williams caught behind down the leg side and Viljoen went soon after the lunch break bowled by an inswinger from Mooney.

After that Namibia struggled to put together partnerships, and Dockrell helped himself to two more wickets to take his match-tally to eight.