WI march into Super Eights
Ireland crash out as rain mars tie
Ireland’s worst fears came true as their remote hopes of qualifying to the Super Eight stage were washed away after torrential downpour forced the abandonment of their shootout against the West Indies here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Monday night.
Coming into Group B’s final encounter with a loss each at the hands of Australia, it was a must win match for both the West Indies and Ireland to progress to the next stage. A washout, however, wasn’t in the best interests of Ireland whose net run-rate of -2.09 was lower than West Indies’ -1.85. As a result, Darren Sammy’s men joined Sri Lanka and England in Group B of the Super Eights with New Zealand’s qualification as the fourth team being only a formality now.
For the record, Ireland posted 129/6 in 19 overs after two rain delays had shaved off two overs from the contest. Given West Indies’ batting fire-power, the target wasn’t going to be a difficult one but the rain that resumed immediately after Ireland’s innings ensured no further play.
With dark clouds hovering over the stadium, the rain-threat was always around. Though Sammy had maintained that they were a side who preferred to set the target rather than chase it, he opted to bowl first in order to give the West Indies a better chance to win if Duckworth/Lewis method were to come into play. The all-rounder didn’t have wait too long to stand vindicated as the first spell of rains arrived at the completion of the fifth over at which stage Ireland were 33 for the loss of their skipper William Porterfield. The southpaw once again fell for a first-ball duck, as Fidel Edwards’ full-length scorcher broke through his defences.
The umpires – Asad Rauf and Kumar Dharmasena – rescheduled the start at 8.20 pm but no sooner the covers had come off than it began to rain again, forcing a further postponement. The proceedings began at 8.45 pm by which time 55 minutes of play had been lost but fortunately only two overs were reduced making it a 19-over-a-side affair.
Sunil Narine got rid of Ed Joyce after the resumption, bowling the southpaw around his legs after which Niall O’Brien and Gary Wilson came up with some lusty hits to add some meat Ireland’s innings. Chris Gayle didn’t get a chance to swing his bat but the southpaw played his part with the ball. The off-spinner dismissed both N O’Brien and Wilson and celebrated each success with his own version of Irish ‘chicken dance’ to entertain the sparse gathering.
Notwithstanding a few slogged-sixes towards the end, Irish couldn’t manage a total that would have tested the batting might of the Windies but they rather would have preferred to go down fighting than watch helplessly the match being rained off.
Porterfield b Edwards 0
Stirling c Gayle b Sammy 19
Joyce b Narine b Narine 17
N O’Brien b Gayle 25
Wilson c Ramdin b Gayle 21
K Obrien b Rampaul 13
Johnston (not out) 15
Jones (not out) 14
Extras (LB-2, W-2, NB-1) 5
Total (for 6 wkts, 19 overs) 129
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Porterfield), 2-33 (Joyce), 3-37 (Stirling), 4-70 (Wilson), 5-96 (N O’Brien), 6-107 (K Obrien).
Bowling: Edwards 3-0-23-1, Rampaul 4-0-20-1, Sammy 3-0-23-1, Narine 4-0-21-1 (nb-1), Russell 2-0-19-0 (w-1), Gayle 3-0-21-2 (w-1).
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 35/2.