“It’s a pathway to Test cricket and we have to take every opportunity we can get”
Mommsen and Asghar Stanikzai reflect on weather-affected Scotland-Afghanistan match
Ireland captain William Porterfield has paid tribute to Ed Joyce, who scored a record-breaking 231 against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which turned out to be the cornerstone of the reigning champions’ an innings and 26 runs victory in an opening-round match of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2015-17 in Malahide, Dublin.
Joyce’s 232-ball innings included 29 fours and three sixes, and together with Paul Stirling (146), the left-hander put on 231 runs for the second wicket. Such was the dominance of Joyce that he scored 229 runs out of 420 for three which the home side amassed on day one of the four-day first-class match.
Ireland was bowled out for 492 on day two but then fast bowler Craig Young returned match figures of seven for 110 and left-arm spinner George Dockell recorded match figures of seven for 141 as the UAE was skittled for 213 and 253.
Shaiman Anwar, UAE’s star performer at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, was the top scorer with 57 in the first innings, while wicketkeeper Swapnil Patel with 63 was the top scorer in the second innings.
“Ed Joyce's record score for Ireland was a great effort,” said Porterfield in his post-match comments, adding: “Paul Stirling also played well and really pleased for him to get 146. They set up the game for us.
“To have someone with Ed’s class and experience coming in at number three is massive for us. Not going to work every day but it comes more often than not in this form of the game.
“He’s also great for all the other batters; talking about his experiences, playing in different conditions against different bowlers will be a great help moving forward. We have quite a lot of travelling in this competition, so we will come up on a few different surfaces.”
Porterfield also praised the efforts of Dockrell. “It was a pretty flat and slow pitch as the game went on. Great that George Dockrell picked up his reward with seven wickets. He had to bowl 60 overs which wasn’t the plan, but it allowed me to rotate the seamers,” he said.
Porterfield once again reiterated the importance of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2015-17. “The ICC Intercontinental Cup is a massively important competition.
“We spoke about it briefly after the England game, it’s a pathway to Test cricket and we have to take every opportunity we can get. It will be difficult to take 20 wickets in some matches, so it was important to get the maximum 20 points in the first match.
“We have to take that into our next match although we now have to wait over four months.”
The UAE coach and former Pakistan fast bowler Aqib Javed said the defeat highlighted his side’s lack of experience in the longer format of the game.
“The game didn’t go the best way. I think the difference between the teams was professionalism. Back home, the structure does not support the longer version of the game. Seventy per cent play only T20 and 50 overs, and there is no concept of four-day cricket, except in the ICC Intercontinental Cup. In contrast, 70-80 per cent of the Ireland team is playing regular county cricket.
“We have been doing well in T20 and 50 overs, and if you ask somebody to be there for 150 overs, it's impossible. It's about your past experience. Our capacity for staying on the ground is about 60 overs and after that, the body gets really tired and the brain stops working, so that’s when they start making mistakes.”
Joyce, reflecting on the match and his innings, said: “It's a great start to the competition for us. The UAE certainly made us work hard for the win, showing great application to their batting but it was just a case of being patient and the wickets came. I thought the bowlers stuck to their task well given it was a very good batting track.
“We were always in control after scoring nearly 500 in our first innings, and it was really pleasing to make 231 and break Eoin Morgan's record for the highest individual score.
“This is a great chance for Ireland to achieve Test status and the strength of our team for the game shows just how seriously we’re taking these games. We’ve a lot of experience in our ranks and I think we showed that over the four days.
“We’re aware it’s just the first game of seven, and we’re already looking forward to playing Namibia in the next series later in the year - it should be quite a match.”
Scotland v Afghanistan
The match between former champions Scotland and Afghanistan was affected by rain and only one innings was possible. Scotland, batting first, scored 233 with captain Preston Mommsen scoring 77. In turn, Afghanistan was dismissed for 135 with Samiullah Shenwari scoring 51 not out and left-arm spinner Con de Lange taking three for 21.
The result gave Scotland 13 first-innings lead points while Afghanistan had to settle for seven points.
Reflecting on the match, Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai said: “The weather was terrible, and we would have loved to have played a four-day game, but the weather disturbed things. As parts of the game we competed, but it wasn't enough (for a first-innings lead) but we are still a very good side and we believe that we can still make it to the final.”
Scotland captain Mommsen commented: “It was a tough four days and obviously the weather has had a huge influence on the game, but very satisfying to come to day four and take those two remaining wickets and secure a winning draw effectively.
“I am very happy with the performance and unfortunately there was no chance of getting a full result, but obviously against a strong team like Afghanistan, so we'll take the points.”
Forthcoming first round match:
16-19 June – Netherlands v Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Round two (dates/venues to be confirmed)
Netherlands v Scotland
Nepal v PNG
Namibia v Kenya
UAE v Hong Kong