Ireland’s opening World Cup game ended in a 27-run defeat to Bangladesh in Group B in Mirpur today. Asked to field first, Ireland produced a superb bowling display after Tamim Iqbal’s quickfire 44 as Andre Botha (three for 32) and 18-year-old spinner George Dockrell (two for 23) restricted the Tigers to a modest 205 all out.
In response, brothers Niall (38) and Kevin O’Brien (37) were the standout performers with the bat, but despite staying ahead of the run-rate, a steady fall of wickets ended their hopes.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful initially led the Bangladesh attack, picking up two wickets apiece, but it was Shafiul Islam’s career-best figures of four for 21 that rocked the Irish lower half and clinched victory with five overs to spare.
Tamim and Imrul Kayes gave the crowd plenty to cheer about in the first powerplay as the total reached 50 in just 5.4 overs, but Ireland hit back with three quick wickets. Kayes (12) was stumped smartly by Niall O’Brien off John Mooney before Junaid Siddique was run out for three attempting a quick single.
Botha made it three down when he had the dangerous Tamim caught slashing to point for 44. Shakib struck three boundaries for his 16, but Botha nipped the skipper’s innings in the bud, catching him off his own bowling.
Raqibul Hasan (38) and Mushfiqur Rahim (36) lent stability to the innings with their patient approach, taking 109 deliveries to put on 61 for the fifth wicket. However, Ireland regained the initiative as Dockrell — who bowled one of the tightest spells of the tournament to date — removed Mushfiqur and newcomer Ashraful (one) in successive overs, while Andrew White’s quick fielding saw Raqibul run out.
The last three batsmen added a crucial 49 runs before being wrapped up by Botha and Trent Johnston, who ended with figures of two for 40.
In reply, Ireland lost both their openers — Paul Stirling (nine) and skipper William Porterfield (20) — by the 10th over and were left reeling at 75 for three when Ed Joyce (16) was tamely caught and bowled by Ashraful.
Niall O’Brien was soon joined in the middle by his younger brother Kevin when White (10) was bowled by Ashraful and Bangladesh kept the pressure going with Niall’s dismissal off a superb catch by Tamim.
Kevin kept things steady — notching up a useful 41-run stand with Botha — but was caught in the deep for 37 off Shaiful and three quick wickets then further deepened Ireland’s woes. Mooney (nought) was bowled by Naeem Islam and followed in similar fashion by Botha (22) off Shaiful, who also trapped Johnston lbw for six.
Fittingly, it was Shaiful who kicked off Bangladesh’s victory celebrations when he dismissed Boyd Rankin for three.