ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Bangladesh v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Group B, Mirpur
Porterfield rues batting lapses
The words 'spirited' and 'plucky' will again be used to describe an Ireland performance, but this was a game they really should have won
Sidharth Monga in Mirpur
February 25, 2011
They get their big chance once every four years, but Ireland won the hearts once again with a spirited show in the field. However, they couldn't win a game that they ought to have secured with plenty to spare. Not many sides come back from the hammering TamimIqbal dished out in the first half hour of the game, but Ireland did so through intelligent bowling and energetic fielding. However, their batting didn't quite have the wits their effort in the field had shown.
It took Ireland four overs to realise that they would need to take the pace off on this surface, and Boyd Rankin's pace would prove to be his enemy. They did so with their imitation of New Zealand's famous dibbly-dobblies. Andre Botha, John Mooney and Trent Johnston kept bowling accurately, kept rolling their fingers either side of the ball every now and then, and the fielders supported them superbly.
With the bat, however, Ireland were as frozen as they were free-flowing in the field. Until Shafiul Islam came back to mow down the last four off with a devastating spell of reverse-swing, hardly any batsmen fell to a wicket-taking delivery, and that's what should irk an honest side like Ireland. At any rate, their opportunities on the world stage are so limited, chasing 206 in the subcontinent is not a chance they should be wasting.
Ireland's captain William Porterfield was the first to take the blame. He chipped the first delivery bowled by Shakib Al Hasan to short midwicket. "I played a poor shot. I was as frustrated as I have been in a while," he said. "You can't afford to do things like that in any cricket, let alone major tournaments. I let myself down, I let my team down in the way I got out. Regardless we should have knocked those runs off. We should have taken more responsibilities."
What will be doubly frustrating is that Ireland's best bets in the middle order, the O'Brien brothers, got off to starts, but holed out in the deep. If either one of them had doubled his score in the high 30s, Ireland would have been through comfortably. They came that close. And both looked good to do exactly that. Especially Niall O'Brien, who looked the best batsman of the day, reading the spinners' lengths early, moving his feet decisively, and finding gaps instinctively. That instinct failed him when he went a bit too hard at a chip shot. It becomes that much more poignant when you think how it was Niall O'Brien who started Ireland's turnaround in the first place, with a flashy, inspirational stumping down the leg side to dispatch Imrul Kayes.
Porterfield said it should never have been a case of "so near, yet so far". It shouldn't have even been close, in his opinion. "If you ask Shakib [Al Hasan], he would say they won it, the way they came out fighting. I think they did that. [However] If we ask ourselves, we should chase 200 against any team in this tournament in any conditions. I think we'll say we lost it, they might say they won it.
"We were never going to struggle to get four an over in 50 overs, but if you get bowled out you are not going to win games," he added. "We just kept losing wickets. Anytime we looked like we had a partnership going, we lost wickets. You can't afford to do that at any level."
A measure of Ireland's inexperience at the highest level is that this was the first time they were playing a day-night ODI, and perhaps the first time they came up against such an imposing crowd. However, Porterfield said that the crowd didn't play any role in their capitulation with the bat. "I actually enjoyed the atmosphere," he said. "That's what you want to play in front of. You want to play in front of packed houses. And fanatical fans, like Bangladesh has. I don't think it had any effect whatsoever. If you turn up at a stadium and find a full house, if you can't get yourself up for a game, then there is something wrong with you. In my opinion, the crowd didn't really have an effect."
It can be a demoralising way to lose, but Porterfield said his side was capable of leaving what happened in Dhaka in Dhaka. "There were a few poor shots in there," he said. "We will take a look at ourselves. The way we have been playing, the two warm-up games, the preparations we have had, we have let ourselves down a bit. [But] If we play the way we have been playing over the last couple of weeks, then I don't think we will have major issues going forward."
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