One team wanted to be as flashy as they could; the other was the definition of a workmanlike approach. No prizes for guessing which team won the day. Bangladesh may have stunned India and South Africa earlier in the tournament, but today they were clearly the second-best side against an Ireland outfit whose execution was as good as their planning.
The shrewd tactics were apparent from the start. Considering their openers had 23 in their seven previous stands, with a highest partnership of 7, it would have been easy for Trent Johnston to choose to field after winning the toss on a bouncy Barbados pitch. Instead, he opted to bat, and his openers, William Potterfield and Jeremy Bray, rewarded him with an opening stand of 92, which was four times their aggregate of all first-wicket partnerships through the tournament.
Ireland's approach was to go slow in the early overs, concentrate on the singles, keep wickets in hand, and then go for the spectacular boundaries during their last few overs. Their entire innings consisted of ten fours and three sixes - that's 58 runs in boundaries, which was 24% of their total. Bangladesh, on the other hand, hammered 15 fours and two sixes - some of those boundaries were gorgeous to the eye - in their 169, which was 43% of their total.
The difference is most stark in the first 38 overs of each innings. Ireland had scored a mere five fours till that period compared to Bangladesh's 14 fours and two sixes. However, Ireland took 16 more singles and played out 19 fewer dot balls. Their risk-free approach also ensured they lost five fewer wickets at that stage of their innings, which made all the difference.
The solid foundation at the top of the order allowed Johnston and Kevin O'Brien to hit out during the last 12 overs, a period in which Ireland scored 98, with five fours and two sixes. The regular loss of wickets in the Bangladesh innings meant they had no chance to mount a late charge. The result, of course, means Bangladesh are now out of contention for a semi-final spot, and are in danger of finishing last among the Super Eight teams.
Other stats highlights
This was only the 11th time in 42 games in this tournament that the captain winning the toss chose to bat. Captains who've taken this risk have won five games and lost six. Of the 31 times teams have chased a target, they've won 14 and lost 16. (One match, between Ireland and Zimbabwe, was tied.)
Porterfield's 85 was the fourth instance of an Irish batsman getting to a half-century in this tournament: Bray (115 not out) and Niall O'Brien (72 and 63) are the others who have achieved this feat.
There were four run-outs in the Ireland innings, which makes it the ninth instance of four or more in a World Cup innings. The highest is five, which has happened twice, with Australia suffering on both occasions - against India in 1996 and against West Indies in the 1975 final.