Ireland hold off Bangladesh in warm-up clash

Mon, Sep 17, 2012, 01:00

Cricket:Ireland completed their World Twenty20 preparations with a tight five-run win over Bangladesh in Colombo to make it four straight victories since they arrived in Sri Lanka.

Having seen off Zimbabwe in their first official warm-up game, William Porterfield’s side got the better of a higher-class of opposition today, successfully defending their 164 for six.

A thrilling 71 from just 41 balls by opener Paul Stirling was the highlight of their innings. Ed Joyce chipped in with a more considered 39 to boost the total further and, despite a knock of 52 from Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh were unable to reach their target.

Kevin O’Brien (three for 24) eventually put the skids on their charge, which originally looked as though it would be in pursuit of a higher score when Ireland rattled off 40 runs in the first four overs.

Porterfield was the first man to go as he was run out with the score on 46, with Stirling and Joyce then sharing a second-wicket stand of 64 before the latter was castled by Elias Sunny.

Joyce carried on the charge before being snared by Mashrafe Mortaza who ended with two for 33, as Ireland were unable to open their shoulders over the closing stages of their overs.

Bangladesh’s response saw them lose Mohammad Ashraful early on for seven, before a quickfire stand of 63 between Tamim Iqbal and Shakib got them motoring. But Tamim (35) offered a return catch to Alex Cusack and then Shakib lost his wicket to Nigel Jones as the wheels started to come off.

O’Brien then took three wickets in two overs to really put Ireland in command and, although Ziaur Rahman weighed in with a breezy 26, it was not enough and Bangladesh ended just short on 159 for nine.

Ireland open their World Twenty20 campaign on Wednesday against Australia, who lost their final warm-up game to England by nine runs in Colombo, with former Irish star Eoin Morgan making 30 off 16 deliveries in their total of 172 for six.

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