William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, was left to rue his side's batting collapse after he and Paul Stirling had given them a real chance of causing a huge upset and beating world champions Australia in Dublin. The openers added 80 in 11 overs but the middle order couldn't keep up the momentum as James Hopes took a career-best 5 for 14 to save the visitors' blushes.
After watching his team's batting struggle at the World Twenty20, Porterfield was again frustrated as the hosts lost 3 for 6 to slip to 86 for 3 then fell away again from 137 for 3 to 156 for 9. The Ireland captain departed for 39 in the 14th over when he was bowled by Nathan Hauritz and despite brave efforts from Alex Cusack and John Mooney the chase proved too much.
"We had them right on the back foot," he said. "It was ours to lose and we let it slip. It's pretty disappointing from the position we were in, especially after the first 10-12 overs.
"We were way ahead of the game from what we needed from then on in with 10 wickets in hand. So it is pretty disappointing. We took the game to them. We definitely put them under pressure."
However, Porterfield was hopeful that Ireland's gusty display, which included an impressive bowling and fielding performance to keep Australia to 231 for 9, would show that they can challenge the major nations as they push their claim to be promoted to Full Member status.
"When these occasions come around we have to show what we can do," he said. "The first 70 overs of that game we were almost on top in everything we did. We were ahead of the game. It's obviously disappointing to lose, but we showed what we can do in stages there.
"Instead of 70 overs we've got to do that for 100. There's no letting up and you can't afford to lose wickets in bunches against teams like this. They'll come down on you as they did. It's disappointing, we shouldn't collapse like that."
Tim Paine, the replacement wicketkeeper for the injured Brad Haddin, played a key innings for Australia with 81 but the matchwinning effort came from Hopes who dismantled Ireland's top order with his bustling medium pace which was ideally suited to a sluggish Clontarf wicket. Hopes admitted the team were rusty after a lengthy break from 50-over cricket and that they had to dig deep to avoid beginning their six-week tour with an embarrassing reversal.
"When we turned up today we knew there was a good chance that Ireland were going to come out and give us a good run," he said. "We hadn't played any one-day cricket for a while, since New Zealand, and we got off to a sluggish start.
"They got off to a blistering start and they were in a position to put us away, and we were fortunate to get out. Fortunately we brought it back in the middle overs and you could look at it that we got out of jail."