Mooney’s late wickets offer some light for Ireland on testing first day
Poor batting performance sees side bowled out for 187 in Dubai
Ireland’s John Mooney bowling against Afghanistan on the first day of the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final at the ICC Global Academy in Dubai. Photograph: Barry Chambers/Inpho
Three wickets from John Mooney in the final session helped Ireland rescue something from the opening day of their Intercontinental Cup Final against Afghanistan in Dubai on Tuesday.
The North County all-rounder also impressed with the bat, making 33 as Ireland were bowled out for just 187 after being put into bat at the ICC Global Academy on a good batting wicket.
Poor shot selection proved the downfall of many of the Ireland batsmen, with John Anderson’s 55 from 111 balls the only other contribution of note against the defending champions.
Afghanistan’s new-ball pairing of Dawlat Zadran and Izzatullah Dawlatzai combined to take out Ireland’s top four batsmen and when Andrew White was trapped leg-before trying to sweep young leg-spinner Rehmat Shah they were reeling at 67 for five.
Anderson and Kevin O’Brien (18) added 39 for the sixth wicket, before Anderson and Mooney combined to add 54 for the seventh wicket in an attempt to rebuild the innings.
They both departed within the space of four deliveries and it became three in 10 balls when Shah collected his third wicket by completely deceiving Trent Johnston with a googly to bowl the 39-year-old on his final appearance for Ireland.
Johnston bowled brilliantly with the new ball but earned no reward despite consistently beating the bat, while Sorensen kept the pressure on at the other end.
Mooney was the man to make the breakthrough with just his second delivery, with wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien taking a brilliant one-handed catch down the leg-side to dismiss opener Nawroz Mangal.
That catch set the tone and White held on to s stunning one-handed effort at third slip as Shabir Noori got a thick edge to a Mooney delivery after he had made 29.
Mooney did all his own work for his third wicket, taking a fine return catch from the dangerous Mohammad Shezad, with Afghanistan closing on 81 for three.
Mooney admitted that he may not have even made the side if Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh had not returned home for personal reasons, while Ireland’s build-up to the match was also hit by the loss of regular wicketkeeper Gary Wilson after he took ill the night before the game.
“I probably wouldn’t even be playing today if we were at full-strength so I’m just happy to be playing, and to get a bowl, get runs, get wickets, I’m delighted,” said Mooney, who finished the day with figures of three for 20.
Mooney also praised the efforts of Ireland’s new-ball pairing in laying the foundations for his success.
“You know I got the wickets but TJ and Max really started it off, they bowled brilliantly at the start and didn’t let them away and I was the lucky one I suppose to get the wickets.
“We thought we were going to get another couple tonight, the bad light has lost us five or six overs there. But a good start in the morning with TJ and Max fresh and we can have a good crack at them.”
ICC INTERCONTINENTAL CUP FINAL
(at ICC Global Academy. Dubai): Day 1 of 5, Afghanistan won the toss and fielded.
IRELAND 1ST INNINGS
W Porterfield c Nabi b Dawlatzai 1
P Stirling c Zazai b D Zadran 17
E Joyce c Zazai b D Zadran 11
N O’Brien b D Zadran 7
A White lbw b Shah 11
J Anderson c Mangal b Shah 55
K O’Brien c Zazai b Shenwari 18
J Mooney c Shezad b D Zadran 33
T Johnston b Shah 0
M Sorensen lbw b Shenwari 13
G Dockrell not out 14
Extras (lb2, nb5) 7
Total (all out, 61 ovs)187
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-28, 3-33, 4-50, 5-67, 8-106, 7-160, 8-160, 9-164.
Bowling: D Zadran 16-5-44-4; I Dawlatzai 10-2-42-1; M Ashraf 7-2-19-0; R Shah 9-0-36-3; M Nabi 12-5-18-0; S Shenwari 7-3-26-2.
AFGHANISTAN 1ST INNINGS
N Mangal c N O’Brien b Mooney 13
S Noori c White b Mooney 29
M Shezad c&b Mooney 16
R Shah not out 12
A Stanikzai not out 11
Total (for 3 wkts, 30 ovs) 81
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-54, 3-58.
To bat: S Shenwari, M Nabi, M Ashraf, A Zazai, D Zadran, I Dawlatzai.
Bowling: T Johnston 9-4-21-0; M Sorensen 8-2-17-0; G Dockrell 7-1-23-0; J Mooney 6-1-20-3.