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10 July 201518:18

Mooney, Porterfield set up comfortable Ireland win

Captain hits unbeaten 56 in seven-wicket victory after bowlers restrict Namibia to 124

Mooney, Porterfield set up comfortable Ireland win - Cricket News

Ireland came up with an all-round effort to beat Namibia by seven wickets in the opening Group A match of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. ICC/Sportsfile

Ireland came up with a tidy all-round effort to coast to a comfortable win over Namibia in the opening Group A match of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast on Friday (July 10).

Opting to field first after winning the toss, Ireland’s seamers struck regularly and never allowed Namibia’s innings to take off. John Mooney, the medium-pacer, rocked the top order, coming on as the first-change bowler in just the third over. Mooney took a wicket in each of his first three overs to reduce Namibia to 45 for 3 in the seventh over.

Mooney’s 3 for 23 were the best figures of the match on either side, and with Alex Cusack (2 for 25) and George Dockrell (2 for 15) also among the wickets, Namibia could end up with only 124 for 8 in its 20 overs. JJ Smit’s 21 (16 balls) from No.8 was the top score in the innings, with no other batsman crossing 20.

William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, acknowledged the importance of starting off with a win. "Yeah, it was (clinical), the kind of professional performance you want first game in the tournament," he said. "We’ve known before to have slipped up in the early stages, but we were right on it today."

Mooney spoke along similar lines, while reflecting on his own performance. "I’m not 100 percent pleased because I got hit for a six in the last ball but more importantly, we got a win, it was a great start. Namibia have beaten us before in this tournament, so it was crucial to beat them in the first game."

Porterfield, who played a key hand while batting, praised his bowlers for a strong performance. "I think they were very good today, they were exceptional, he said. "If they keep improving throughout the competition, we’ll be in a very good place."

Having done the job with the ball, it was the batsmen’s turn to drive home the advantage for Ireland.

Ireland lost Paul Stirling early in its chase, to be 3 for 1 in the first over, but Niall O’Brien and Porterfield put together a 71-run stand that put the side in the driver’s seat.

Niall reached 45 from 40 before falling to Sarel Burger, but at 74 for 2 in 10.1 overs, Ireland was still in control. Even though Kevin O’Brien fell cheaply to leave the side three down, Porterfield was still there and he steered the chase well.

Porterfield’s unbeaten 44-ball 56 and Andrew Balbirnie’s steady support at the other end with an unbeaten 18 in the unbroken fourth-wicket stand ensured a comfortable win, Ireland cruising to 128 for 3 in just 17.2 overs.

Ireland faces the United States of America in its next match and Mooney acknowledged that it would be vital to maintain the same intensity. "I see us winning that if we play properly and if we take our eye off the ball, it’s going to be a difficult game. So we’ll treat them exactly like the way we treat any other team and hopefully we get a positive result."

To see the full scorecard of this match, please click here.