Ireland Aspire to England’s Standards

31st January 2014

When the Sawdust Settles – match reviews

Nagico Super50 Tournament – 2nd Match

Zone A: Guyana v Ireland, Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Guyana 301-3 beat Ireland 187 by 114 runs

Ireland have aspirations to become a Test-playing nation, a possibility that has a better chance of becoming a reality after the recent ICC upheavals – but if this performance is anything to go by, then they don’t deserve it.

Their record in recent times has been impressive, in both Associate Nation competitions, and even when they have faced Test-playing opposition. They only narrowly lost an ODI to England last year thanks to the performance of England’s captain on the day, Eoin Morgan (born in Dublin). Such has been their form that it led one misguided pundit to back them to win this competition. Yes, I admit it.

But this was a performance well-below the standard required to win tournaments, or to win very much outside a school playground, come to think of it. In fact, its nearest similarity would be to any of the appalling defeats England recently suffered in Australia. Perhaps teams from the British Isles are just incapable of travelling anymore? Certainly, Ireland’s coach the Trinidadian, Phil Simmons would have been made far less comfortable back on home sole for watching this shambles.

The Ireland bowling began by looking toothless, and got less threatening from there on. Tim Murtagh, a man reckoned by many Middlesex supporters to have been unluckily leap-frogged for England colours by county team-mate, Steven Finn a few years back, was insipid and wayward. Sorensen was ordinary. And it got worse.

George Dockrell is a good county spinner for Somerset. He wasn’t today. McBrine got away with 10 steady overs for 34, but the rest of the attack was below military medium in pace, and was so loose that any viewer would have fancied a bat today. Sometimes you stroll past a park match and see less-than-athletic guys trundling down half volleys and full tosses, and you reflect ruefully on your trusty old Gunn & Moore (secreted at the back of a cupboard to collect dust, with only poor old Puff the Magic Dragon for company), and wish you were batting today.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul (79) and Ronnie Sarwan (89no) both must have thought they’d have another decade left in them if they could face more of this sort of stuff.

301-3 at over 6 an over was a fair score for the bowling, but about 50 too many for the pitch; and over a 100 too many for Ireland as it turned out.

There was little prospect of any recovery after 27-4 in the 9th over, Wintz and Beaton both bowling well and aggressively. Hostile, and certainly pacier than anything Ireland had to offer, but not approaching the levels of great West Indian quicks.

From that position, Ireland added a further 160 in 30 overs for the remaining 6 wickets, going down with 11 and a half overs remaining.

It was a merciful end that had long been on the cards, allowing spectators and viewers to withdraw from the debacle an hour earlier than had been expected.

To read Cricket Ireland’s match report, click here.

And to watch brief highlights of the game, click here.

David Oram

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