Irish cricketers out-bowled and outclassed

Irish cricketers out-bowled and outclassed

Ireland cricket team humbled 0-2 in historic tour to Bangladesh.

The Irish Post’s MALHAR HATHI reports

Ireland’s first-ever bilateral ODI series in Bangladesh in 15 years ended in a humiliating 0-2 series loss.

The margin of victories for the hosts - by 183 runs and 10 wickets - was their biggest in terms of runs and wickets. The latter was also Ireland’s first-ever 10-wicket defeat in the format after the batting was largely undone by Bangladesh’s unrelenting seam attack.

Ireland’s lack of experience in the subcontinent was at the fore as they failed to pose any substantial threat to the hosts and were found wanting across departments. If the bowlers failed to keep the Bangladeshi batters quiet, the Irish batters succumbed to the fast bowlers.

In the first ODI, Bangladesh took advantage of the batting-friendly conditions on offer in Sylhet with their highest ODI total - 338 for 8 - a record which stood for only two days.

At 81-3, Shakib Al Hasan, in conjunction with debutant Towhid Hridoy, steadied the innings with a 135-run stand but both fell in the 90s. In the process, Al Hasan became the third cricketer to reach 7000 runs and 300 wickets in the format and Hridoy recorded the highest score by a Bangladeshi debutant in ODIs.

Mushfiqur Rahim provided the finishing fireworks with a fiery 26-ball 44 as Graham Hume’s 4-60 limited the damage somewhat.

In response, Ireland lost a flurry of wickets after an opening partnership of 60 between Stephen Doheny and Paul Stirling. They lost their next five wickets for just 16 runs and were eventually bowled out for 155 in the 31st over, a total inflated by George Dockrell’s fighting 45-run knock.

Fast bowler Ebadot Hossain, playing in his seventh ODI, was able to generate significant bounce with 140-plus kph deliveries and was duly rewarded with career-best figures of 4-42.

“Bangladesh have shown not just in the series against us but also England that they have become an all-round side,” Ireland head coach Heinrich Malan said after the series.

“It’s not just about playing their spin anymore, they have a quality seam attack as well. That’s come from years and years of planning and experience. If you flip it over for us, our batters don’t necessarily face 140 kph bowlers in our domestic circuit at this stage. It’s a challenge that we have identified for us to work on.”

Image preview

Ireland’s bowling stocks were depleted with injuries to Josh Little, Craig Young and Barry McCarthy with the likes of Fionn Hand and Tom Mayes handed last-minute call-ups.

While the second ODI was washed out, Bangladesh, after losing the toss, notched up their highest ODI total of 349 for 6 on the back of Mushfiqur Rahim’s 60-ball 100, the country’s fastest-ever. He struck 14 boundaries and two sixes as Irish bowlers failed to make regular inroads.

Najmul Hossain Shanto was first involved in a 101-run partnership with opener Litton Das and when Hume struck twice in successive overs to reduce Bangladesh to 190-4 in the 34th over, Rahim stepped up in the company of Hridoy to register a whirlwind 128-run stand.

Ireland’s bowling in the death overs was tested as they were plundered for 108 runs off the last ten overs. Hume was once again the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-58 but found little support from the other end.

With the opportunity to level the series in the third ODI and be the first Irish captain to taste success in the country, Andrew Balbirnie opted to bat first, more in the hope of being able to make use of the batting-friendly pitch and restrict the Bangladesh batters in the second innings.

But what followed instead was another trial by seam bowling as Irish batters failed to contend with the quicks on a hard and bouncy surface. As a result, Ireland was shot out for 101 in 28.2 overs with Hasan Mahmud’s maiden five-wicket haul leading the rout.

Bangladesh needed only 79 deliveries to chase down the target in under an hour. Das made a 38-ball 50 alongside the Bangladeshi captain Tamim Iqbal (41*) to ensure there were no blemishes.

“I decided to bat because we wanted to get a score on the board, we knew we had to be pretty tight in the first 10 (overs) but the first hour was a disaster from a batting point of view and we were never going to get a big enough score,” Balbirnie explained after the game.

Bangladesh came into the series with confidence on the back of a historic 3-0 T20I series win over a second-string England side, currently the defending world champions.

“They are obviously off the back of some good cricket against England, we are straight here from indoor cricket, and we didn’t adapt as quickly as we needed to. They have shown they are a good team and have played much better cricket,” Balbirnie said.

Ireland will face an uphill battle when Bangladesh tour Chelmsford for the reciprocal tour consisting of three ODIs, all part of the World Cup Super League. While Bangladesh have already secured a spot in the 10-team World Cup to be held in India at the end of the year, Ireland need to beat them 3-0 in May or fight it out at the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in June.

“We came here with high hopes of playing good cricket and competing but we didn’t. When you come up against good attacks if you are not at your best you are going to be found out.

“And it’s a shame because we have been playing well in this format, but that’s cricket, and we have to find a way to be better when they come to Chelmsford.”