ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Ireland beaten, but with their honour intact

Liam Brickhill at the Chinnaswamy Stadium

March 6, 2011

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The citadel of the Chinnaswamy remains secure for India, but the men in green made those in blue fight hard for victory and will leave Bangalore with their honour intact. A gritty 113-run stand between captain William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien, Ireland's highest for the third wicket, leant a respectable sheen to the total and Ireland's never-say-die attitude was in full evidence in the field as they made India fight for every run before a blitzkrieg of Yusuf Pathan boundaries sealed the battle.

Outgunned on almost every front, Ireland nevertheless kept themselves in the game until the very end. Porterfield and the elder O'Brien defied the opposition and the baying crowd to haul their side out of a perilous 9 for 2, and Trent Johnston's two early wickets in his opening spell breathed life into the innings - especially after his scene-stealing 'chicken dance' celebration at Virender Sehwag's dismissal. Throughout, Ireland fought as a team and eventually lost as a team, and there was plenty for their captain to be proud of despite the defeat.

"I'm definitely [proud]," said Porterfield. "There were a lot of key moments through that game where it would've been easy to sit back and say 'well we're playing India and we're on the back foot'. We were 9 for 2 and we fought back from that, and we lost three quick wickets in the middle and we fought back again. And we came out after halftime and fought right from the start and put a bit of pressure on India. We really fought, the way we fielded and bowled throughout, and it's a great credit to the lads."

A travelling brigade of Irish supporters was dwarfed by the 40,000-strong legion of Indian fans that packed the stands, but their team gave them ample reason to make themselves heard all the same. It helped that Ireland's relentless nipping at the ankles of the more fancied Indians meant the home fans couldn't have it all their own way, and for extended sessions there was a tangible mood of silent, even nervous apprehension in the stadium.

"The green stands out from the rest of the crowd," added Porterfield. "It's good to see so many people travelling over. It's great to see the support even back at the hotel, you walk about and you see a lot of familiar faces and a lot of Irish accents. That's great to see and all credit to them for come out here and spending the money to travel and taking time. The lads really appreciate it and hopefully they keep coming."

William Porterfield pulls through midwicket, India v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 6, 2011
William Porterfield's team made India fight for their win © Getty Images

Their neighbours across the Irish sea had the firepower to push India to the very brink last Sunday, but Ireland don't have quite the stocks that England do. Porterfield rued the "two key moments" where they slipped behind the pace and subsequently failed to set what could have been a challenging total - O'Brien's run-out that broke their century stand, and his own dismissal for 75 when he slapped a Yuvraj Singh long-hop straight to cover. "I think those were the two key points where we could have kicked on from the position we were in, but we lost two wickets and that set us back a bit," he said.

In the field, Ireland were also struck by Johnston's knee injury in his fifth over and his guile and experience was sorely missed later on. Scans revealed no fracture or ligament damage, and it is hoped he would be fit for Ireland's next game against West Indies in Mohali in five days time. The bowling attack stuck gamely to their plans in his absence, and there was a touch of a wobble in India's chase when Virat Kohli was run out to reduce them to 100 for 4.

M S Dhoni has masterminded just this sort of chase countless times before, however, and he nudged his way into the 20s with little fanfare, biding his time and playing himself in and coming to terms with the vagaries of a pitch which offered far more succour to bowlers of all types than had been the case in the previous two games here.

With less than 50 needed, Porterfield's last throw of the dice was to hand the ball to his two most dangerous bowlers: Boyd Rankin and George Dockrell. As the stadium's sound system blared out a techno-infused Bon Jovi singing "it's my life, and it's now or never" Dockrell skipped to the crease and delivered a perfectly-flighted delivery that nipped past Dhoni's lunging defensive stroke and would've smashed into middle had his back leg not got in the way. India were 167 for 5 and it seemed there would be a final twist to the chase.

Enter Yusuf. He responded to the situation in explosive fashion, re-awakening the stadium with a volley of enormous hits. He blasted 16 off the last five balls Dockrell bowled, hammered a third six straight down the ground off Paul Stirling, and finished the job with a flashing glance to the fine-leg boundary shortly afterwards. The end came quickly for Ireland, but the lasting impression they gave was of a team that truly believes it can win every game it plays, no matter who the opposition is.

"We fought really hard when we came out again and threw ourselves around in the field, and also the way we bowled, especially defending a small total like that. As long as we kept picking up wickets it was always there. You never know, we could've come in and got Yusuf first ball and then that would've put even more pressure on them again. You never know what could've happened from there, but we fought hard in defending 200 and you can't ask for any more."

Innings Dot balls 4s 6s PP1 PP2 PP3 Last 10 overs NB/Wides
Ireland 175 16 1 27-2 20-0(11-15) 23-2(45-49) 35-4(47.5) 6/8
India 153 17 3 43-2 23-0(11-15) 11-0(45-46) 43-1(46) 0/5

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 91 
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Posted by steve on (March 8, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

CREASER, my best wishes are with the you and the Irish team!! fighfor survival is in every Irish mind and to do better in every game is in every Irish players heart!! looking at the batting, bowling, feilding one can easily judge sitting at home where the irish team stands. if given a chance to play any top team on a regular basis, they can knock any opponent!! let me bring out one thing when any to team looses they always blame of less match practice, this is every top teams words, we did not play for a long time that's why we lost!!!! anyway the IRISH team deserves a test status provided ENGLAND does not have any objection!!!!

Posted by philip on (March 7, 2011, 22:54 GMT)

It is heartening to hear all the good words from you guys. In Ireland we have a tiny pool of players to try and form an International side. It is a struggle to keep kids playing and to keep them motivated in a sport that has only a fraction of player numbers of say Soccer or the National sport Gaelic Hurling/Football. We survive by sheer grit and determination coupled with a dollop of talent when we can- "the Fighting Irish" syndrome! The success of the Irish team in the last World cup in the Windies and their defeat of England recently have lifted ALL the Irish at Home. Everyone is talking about the Team and more importantly THE SPORT! Success brings more kids into the game. It brings much needed Money to try and keep players AT HOME. But we need to be playing the big boys on a regular basis to allow us to improve. We need to be in BIG competitions and ALL world cup tournaments need the "Irelands" to bring out surprises and to give countries a sense of achievement and a goal.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 7, 2011, 21:25 GMT)

We definitely need better back-up fast bowlers. It's no use if Zaheer bowls beautifully but we can't keep up the pressure from the other end. I've been wishing forever that they pick Sreesanth over Munaf Patel. The point is that we need to get wickets with the new ball. Munaf Patel is not a wicket-taker anymore. He is extremely predictable and when he comes up against good batting teams he's going to get smashed around. He's not a good fielder either. Sree is more athletic, he's quicker, and even though he may go for runs he can naturally swing the new ball and get wickets. He may be a bit petulant on the field, but you need someone to be aggressive -- and we'll just have to put up with it or hope that they can control him somehow. There are other good fast bowlers in domestic cricket -- like Abhimanyu Mithun and Umesh Yadav. I don't know why they're not getting chances right now. Instead we go with guys like Nehra and Patel, who're way past their best.

Posted by Big on (March 7, 2011, 19:45 GMT)

Tendulkar played a loose shot (trying to sweep), Yuvi got Kohli run-out. Both SRT and Kholi would have seen India thru comfortably. Yuvi is over-rated, very sluggish in the field and completely lazy in running between the wickets. He struggled while Yusuf was hitting sixes. Yuvi seriously needs to be dropped.

Posted by Sab on (March 7, 2011, 18:03 GMT)

I am surprised to see so many Indian cricket fans criticizing the Indian team and MSD. Ireland played their heart out and they lost. Ireland deserves a praise. Yes, India could do better, but they didn't play bad. Also funny to notice was the pre-match and post-match comments from some BD fans. A pre-match comment "India would be lucky if they could win this match". A post match comment "I don't know why does India have to celebrate this win so much, they just beat the minnows" Guys, I wouldn't say that India is going to win this world cup, but they are not a bad team and certainly don't deserve all those ridiculous criticism. Some of the ridiculous comments "but I expected India to breeze through this match" Really?India was facing Ireland not Canada. ' England should have won that game. BD could have won if only they batted first (we shall never know). If only Ireland could play ordinary spin a little better" if "ifs and buts" can win the games, any team can win any game...lol

Posted by Ashok on (March 7, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

Thanks to a fine effort from Yuvraj Singh that swung the match in India's favour.I was surprised by the 2 LBW decisions when both Sachin & Dhoni swept at the ball with front foot down the line - given out. One foot down the line takes you down 2.5 M down from the wicket and as per the Bell being given not out should also apply to these 2 LBW's. Anyway, it was a spirited display by Ireland mixed with some un wanted antics like the Johnstone's chicken dance.Sehwag with an Elephant memory will remeber this if he ever bats agains vs. Johnstone. Both Sehwag and Gambhir were out to bad strokes + with 2 LBW decisions, put India in a bad position. Pathan relieved the pressure with some hefty shots. I expected Pathan to come after Yuvraj instead of Dhoni.If Pathan gets going he will do a Kevin O'Brien on any team.Apart from Yuvraj & Zaheer, the Indian bowling was poor- with Harbhajan & Chawls never looked the class to make the Indian team.Ashwin & Ojha may be more deserving spinners.

Posted by Shantanu on (March 7, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

Definitely Ireland's honour is intact. Though there was no boubt about their superiority Indians were lucky on two counts - that they won the toss and put Ireland in and the injury to Johnston. Ireland unfamiliar with big match situations struggled with what target to set to Indians. Their attitude while batting was happy go lucky. A little more doggedness to this irish side would result in more upsets for them. A score of around 250 would have tested Indians more. Indian team selection was much more appropriate on this dry surface Certainly this group is group of death. India should also win against Holland and with Delhi pitch helping spinners it would not be a bad idea to play with 2 spinners. But this startegy has problems - the QF (India would reach there) would be played at Ahmedabad which has produced belters and SF (if India reaches there) at Mohali would want 3 seamers. So you would need match tested fast bowlers.

Posted by Rakesh on (March 7, 2011, 16:12 GMT)



Hey guys , I see that all of us are eager to see IRELANd often. Put in your support here.


Posted by Dummy4 on (March 7, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

I don't see why Ireland can't make it to the Quarters. It is although a tough fight between Ire, Eng, WI and Ban. There is a very good chance for them to make it to the Quarters with some more upset results.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 7, 2011, 13:53 GMT)

Ireland is the second best fielding side in this WC, next only to SAF.. They fielded almost 3 to 4 times better than India.. Just to compare the commitment of a team supported by 5000 ppl with that of the team supported by 500 million ppl.. They have every dept up to this level.. Little bit of county experience and a bit more of patriotism (courtesy - Eoin morgan), u r up for Tests.. Also impressive is the matured approach of their fans (in comparison wit bangladesh). Approve them for Tests, u ll see them grow like SAF within few yrs.. All de best Irish..!!!

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