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The Report by Ger Siggins at Stormont
July 20, 2012
Bangladesh 146 for 6 (Nasir Hossain 50*) beat Ireland 145 for 6 (Joyce 41) by one run
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Having lost the first game of this three-match series by 71 runs on Wednesday, Ireland had a point to prove. But while the margin of defeat this time was the narrowest possible, their pain was considerably greater because they know they should have won this Twenty20 international and claimed the scalp of Bangladesh for the third time in five years.
While Bangladesh batsmen failed to produce the fireworks of 48 hours earlier, their spinners again strangled Ireland. Two near-perfect overs from the offspinner Mahmudullah proved the difference between two well-matched sides and gave Bangladesh an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Mixing his deliveries, he conceded just four singles in the 18th over, and kept up the pressure with ten needed off the final over. His first three balls cost two runs as Ed Joyce and Andrew Poynter struggled to get him away, and both then perished to catches on the long-on rope as they tried to find the boundaries Ireland now needed. A fuming Trent Johnston smacked a six off the final ball, as he had in the narrow defeat to England here three years ago but, as then, it wasn't enough.
Bangladesh again won the toss and batted, naming an unchanged side. Phil Simmons had to plan without Boyd Rankin - who strained a muscle - and opted to do without Niall O'Brien. George Dockrell and Andrew Poynter came into the team.
"Niall hasn't been hitting the ball well", Phil Simmons, Ireland's coach, said afterwards, "he needs to work on a few things. I also wanted to have another look at Andrew Poynter who earned his chance in the [World T20] qualifiers in Dubai when he batted very well in the final when we needed him."
Bangladesh found the going a bit tougher than in the first game, as Ireland's attack kept tighter lines. Tamim Iqbal continued his struggles in the shorter game with a nine-ball duck, hauling his average below 14. Mohammad Ashraful kept the order marshalled, making a solid 38 while Mushfiqur Rahim and Ziaur Rehman briefly threatened.
Johnston was his usual miserly self, claiming Tamim to a brilliant catch by Dockrell, over his shoulder running back. The bowling of Kevin O'Brien, who hadn't bowled on Wednesday, was a bonus. He kept it tight and also took the scalp of Mahmudullah in four overs that went for 23 but, oddly, Paul Stirling wasn't used. A fine maiden T20I half-century by Nasir Hossein, whose unbeaten 50 included four fours and two sixs, boosted the total to 146 for 6.
Bangladesh opted to open with spin, but William Porterfield and Paul Stirling were looking fluent when the captain was run out for 14. Stirling went soon after for 26, which meant Ireland the innings lost its best chance to explode.
Joyce and Gary Wilson recovered well, putting on 55 in 7.4 overs, before a rush of blood saw Wilson stumped off Elias Sunny. Joyce, a brilliant judge of a run, battled on and kept the total moving but he hit only boundary in his 44-ball 41, and Andrew Poynter also struggled to hit the mostly spin attack.
Simmons was positive, and acknowledged his team had greatly improved their performance. "That was a lot better, we were on top for 80% of the game, but we lost it in the last overs of each innings," he said. "We conceded too many and then Mahmudullah and Shakib showed us how to put pressure on."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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