Ireland v USA, ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers, Dubai March 16, 2012

Rankin shows his class to crush USA

The Report by Ger Siggins in Dubai

Ireland 160 for 6 (O'Brien 47, Joyce 46, Hutchinson 3-22) beat USA 96 (Rankin 4-9) by 64 runs

Boyd Rankin's outstanding figures of 4 for 9 which propelled Ireland to victory against USA emphasised his talent and also what a loss he'd be to Irish cricket if snapped up by England. After losing the two best batsmen they have ever produced to their full member neighbours over the past decade, Cricket Ireland are seriously concerned that the ECB has designs on its two best home-produced bowlers.

Rankin has already toured with England A and if he were to be picked for even a solitary limited overs game by Andy Flower he would be unable to play for Ireland for four years. How damaging that would be to Phil Simmons team has been revealed at this tournament where Rankin has broken his Twenty20 personal best on each of three successive days.

"This is the best I've ever seen him bowl," Ed Joyce, who also played for England before switching back to his native Ireland, said. "He's really got control of his line and length here, which on these wickets is very difficult for a bowler of his height. He's a much more hostile bowler too. I'm delighted for him because he's a really good lad who's worked hard for years and now it's all coming to fruition."

Against USA he was almost unplayable, taking four wickets in his four overs as Ireland cruised to a 64-run victory. His pace is a cut above anything else here and his height ensures plenty of problems for the batsmen. He tormented Aditya Mishra in a five-ball innings that will give him nightmares. Every delivery could have dismissed him and after two good lbw shouts he finally skied the ball high above the ICC Global Cricket Academy ground where Rankin collected his own catch.

Ireland won the toss, but lost William Porterfield early to a loose shot, and just as Paul Stirling looked to be finding his range he chased a wide delivery and bottom edged to Steven Taylor. Alex Cusack made to cut the next ball from the rangy left-arm medium-pacer Elmore Hutchinson and was bowled, leaving Ireland on 32 for 3.

Joyce, was promoted to No.3 where he bats best and when he was joined by Kevin O'Brien the pair rebuilt the innings in classic fashion.

"In Twenty20 I aim to get ten off the first ten balls, and when I went from five to ten with five overthrows I felt like I was in," Joyce said. "Kevin and myself bat well together - I can work it around and hit the odd boundary while he looks to hit a big ball. He twice hit sixes at the right time to take the pressure off."

Neither batsman has made a Twenty20 fifty for Ireland but both had passed their career bests and were close to the milestone when they fell. O'Brien had cleared the fence twice, off Asif Khan and Mishra, but was undone by Abhimanyu Rajp. The spinner parried a straight drive and with the ball lobbing through the air he dived to complete a fine catch for 47. Two overs later Joyce also fell, for 46, to a much more straightforward return catch by Rajp.

Gary Wilson has been batting well in this tournament and hit four boundaries before he carted Hutchinson straight to Muhammad Ghous at wide midwicket for 19.

A target of 150 was way beyond USA's comfort zone, even on this compact arena, especially when captain Sushil Nadkarni was run out early by a sharp Andrew White direct hit. Taylor took a liking to Trent Johnston, who was struggling to find his length and was the most expensive of the Irish attack. Rankin's second over was a double wicket maiden and when Baker carved Johnston to George Dockrell running around at third man the scoreboard read 29 for 4.

Wicketkeeper Taylor was dropped off Johnston by Porterfield, and followed that up with a huge six over midwicket. The Irish captain kept his big guns on and each picked up another wicket to end their joint spells on 52 for 7.

The trio of spinners picked up the baton but it was the least exalted who took the scalps. Hutchinson has an uncomplicated approach, and hit two fours and a six in his entertaining cameo as the tail succumbed. The maximum came off George Dockrell, another on Flower's radar, but whose contribution came in the shape of three outfield catches. Hutchinson had made 29 and was taking aim for his team's 100 when he missed a White delivery and was bowled.

USA have still to register a win in the tournament, but Ireland have settled well after their setback defeat to Namibia and now go into Sunday's key game against Scotland in good heart. "The Scottish game is massive," Joyce said, "it's always a big game for us and they've been playing good cricket too." With the ICC thoughtfully assigning the rest day to St Patrick's Day, the Irish will be celebrating their great national occasion still entertaining hopes of a trip to Sri Lanka.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    What about the great Aussie side of old?, they hired Symonds who was born in England, and no ties to Australia at all. Then England have current side of 10/11 with Eoin Morgan being the Irishman of their side, so even at best they have not got a full side of English players.

    Then there is Holland who have Nannes until recently, then Cooper and Doeschate. What about them?, if Ireland selected Niall O'Brien then we would have 10/11 of the side Irish born which currently is as good as the English side. But you don't mention England or Holland or Australia?.

    With regards to the young bowlers, McCarter is unavailable because of training in a european academy and getkate is unlikely to play again, did you not know he had a heart attack, so think before you insult a good player.

    Cusack and TJ are not of Irish blood but Tim Murtagh is so stop referring to him as hired guns.

    Please tell us who it is you follow?, associate lose their best players, why can't we try replace them

  • reazul on March 19, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    @Colm mooney all the foreign players I mentioned playing for Ireland haven't developed/learned their cricket in Ireland,there is absolutely no entitlement.(murtagh didn't even stayed/played in ireland).Using there services (Ireland is doing it for 10 years now,all through their recent rise) against other associates is just grossly unfair.And its bordering on insanity when some irish fans boastfully claim ire is more deserving of full membership/test status than Zim/Ban specially when ire doesn't have enough quality players to field an all irish 11.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    @tatactg, do you just post around anything to do with Ireland to insult them?, Marshall doesn't play for Ireland, and with Trent Johnston he has spent 20 years in Ireland and so has Cusack, they have nearly spent most of their life in Ireland. So their entitled to play for Ireland.

    The differen tatactg with Ireland, we bring in players from outside who would never play for their country, England have selected players who are needed by their country. Murtagh has never been required by England, but Morgan was certainly needed by Ireland.

    If were to lose more players to England, why can't we replace them. Also in the Italian game we had 9 of the 11 on the field born in Ireland. That's pretty good for an associate side, can I ask where your from tatactg?...

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    BEING AN INDIAN..............still i m really very ecited to see ireland in t2o world cup 2012.................. and i m dead sure they will really rock this season......................

  • Rue on March 18, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    Everyone seems to forget that the Irish players DONT have to play for England if selected. Its not England forcing the Irish lads to play but their own ambition to play at the highest level. Joyce tried his hand at it and didnt make it. Now hes back playing for Ireland, noones complaining about that

  • Andrew on March 17, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    @jonesy2 - the point is - Ireland are not a test nation & most of their players play in County cricket. NZ are a test nation, so to get Vettori, he'd have to sit out 4 yrs of cricket. A more practical example would be if we were interested in PNG players. They COULD play for us under certain conditions, trouble is they would then have to wait 4 years to go back to play for PNG. == == == I have no problems with qualification periods being served amongst test nations. However, I think at the very least it needs to be halved (or totally wiped) for nations like Ireland, when they lose players to England. Not so much worried about them playing for England (if the Poms can't find good enough local talent well it gives us a lot of ammunition) - more worried about players having to bide their time for the sake of maybe playing ONE International for England.

  • Hritam on March 17, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    England only want that they will be the only international team in cricket with players from all over the world playing against county sides. Otherwise why will they steal those home-grown Irish players who have been ready-made carefully and with so hard work? Do they want Ireland to decline like Kenya?

  • A on March 17, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    great show by ireland to win after the setback against is understandable that they dont want them to be made full members but now is the time for the ICC to promote atleast 8-10 associates/affiliates to the t20 and ODI level..with regular games against the lower ranked nations such as zimbabwe bangladesh and west indies these team will gain a lot of valuable experince and improve quickly..cmon plz do something to globalise the game and make it exciting..

  • reazul on March 17, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    @jonesy2 the same way that ireland has it's new english hired hand tim murtagh besides aussies johnston/cusack and saffers van der merwe/sorensen and kiwi nigel jones/hamish marshal.

  • andrew on March 16, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    @Jonesy - Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

  • No featured comments at the moment.