Bangladesh eased to a comfortable victory over Ireland to maintain their unbeaten Tri-Series record but were made to sweat on the fitness of their star all-rounder, Shakib al Hasan.
He had played a key part in the win, bowling nine overs and hitting a half-century from No. 3, but was forced to retire hurt with a suspected side strain. At that point, with Bangladesh 247/3 and needing a further 46 runs from 14 overs, the result was almost confirmed, and though Mosaddek Hossain nicked off in the 41st over for 14, they reached their target with six wickets in hand and seven overs to spare.
Apart from Shakib’s, Tamim Iqbal’s and Liton Das’ were the key knocks for Bangladesh, the pair adding 117 for the first wicket in quick time to break the back of the chase. Tamim chopped on to Boyd Rankin with 57 to his name, while Liton progressed to 76 before missing a Barry McCarthy slower ball and getting bowled.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah also chipped in with useful 35s to tune up for both the final this Friday, 17 May, against West Indies, and the upcoming Men’s Cricket World Cup. Ireland meanwhile, who won’t feature at this summer’s global event, were once again left scratching their heads, unable to find the incision required with ball in hand.
There has, at least, been encouragement with the bat, with two strong performances against West Indies and Bangladesh. On this occasion, Paul Stirling and captain William Porterfield were the stars, the former hitting 130 off 141 balls, his seventh ODI ton, and the latter falling six runs short of his 12th century in the format.
They helped lay a strong platform, adding 174 for the third wicket after James McCollum and Andy Balbirnie had fallen early, Ireland’s highest stand against an ICC Full Member in ODIs, before Porterfield was dismissed in the 45th over with Ireland 233/3.
A late flurry of wickets only came about due to Irish aggression as they attempted to push on towards 300, but did allow Abu Jayed to complete a maiden ODI five-for in just his second game. Ireland ended on 292/8, eight runs shy of that magical number, but seemingly enough to set a challenge for Bangladesh. In the end, the Asian side coasted home comfortably as they continued to ace their World Cup preparations.