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Ireland goes fire

After two less-than-perfect victories in the tournament so
far, defending champion Ireland put in an ominous display in Stormont on
Monday and is now firmly placed on its own at the top of Group A. 

 

Yesterday in Group B, we saw Afghanistan lay down a marker
to potential rivals with a powerful win over Scotland and today was Ireland’s
emphatic response. On this occasion, Nepal was the side unlucky enough to
encounter an Ireland team that was focused, determined and ruthless and, having
being invited to bat first, the fancied Nepalese slumped to 53 all out in less
than 15 overs.

 

While their batsmen will rue some of their shot
selections, in truth it was the tight Irish bowling and hungry fielding that
ensured an early finish to the innings. There was joy for all five bowlers used
with Kevin O’Brien (3-8 off four overs) the pick of them.

 

Conditions were tailor-made for seam bowling as a damp
atmosphere and a juicy Stormont deck produced plenty of lateral movement. And
O’Brien, Alex Cusack, Craig Young, John Mooney and Stuart Thompson all managed
to hit the right areas of the pitch, making life distinctly uncomfortable for
Nepal’s talented and hard-working batsmen. 

 

Ireland’s batters completed the rout in eight overs for
the loss of two wickets, capping a satisfying day for Ireland captain William
Porterfield.

 

“Very pleasing performance,” he said afterwards. “There
was a bit in it for the seamers today. There had been some rain around in the
morning and overnight so that helped. I’m just happy we were able to utilize
those conditions effectively. Also, it was probably as good as we have been in
the field in terms of buzz and intensity, which is what we ask of ourselves.”

 

Next up for Ireland is Papua New Guinea at the same
venue on Wednesday. After this performance, the danger could be
complacency, something Porterfield is anxious to avoid

 

“PNG are a dangerous side as we know from playing them in
a warm-up game before the last competition. We know how dangerous they can be
so we’re not going to take them lightly. Every side in this competition has
match-winners so you’ve got to nullify them, first and foremost. If we can bowl
like that again we will put them under pressure.”

 

Meanwhile, the early game at Stormont saw Namibia outplay
USA from beginning to end. A hapless batting display by the Americans only
yielded 113 runs with Akeem Dodson (49) the only one to pass 20. Poor shot
selection, below average running between the wickets coupled with some tight
bowling by Bernard Scholtz, Gerrie Snyman and Louis Klazinga meant USA never
looked like posting a competitive total.

 

Sometimes, low totals can prove tricky to chase but Snyman
and Stephen Baard soon dispelled any fears Namibia may have harbored in that
regard, putting on 97 for the first wicket. Snyman was eventually out for 62
off 35 balls (five fours and five sixes), caught on the long-on boundary but in
reality, the game was already won at that stage and the Americans hardly
celebrated.

 

Namibia captain Nicolaas Scholtz was pleased his team
registered its first win in the tournament.

 

“I am more than happy. It’s great to get back to winning
ways,” said the 28-year-old from Keetmanshoop.

 

“The bowlers set the tone, they hit their straps early on
and then the batsmen just came to the party. Our fielding, also, is something
we have been working hard on. The guys need to be tight in the circle. We had a
couple of direct hits from the boundary and two run outs in the ring so we need
to keep those standards high.

 

“We want to play freely. Every batsman needs to play his
own game and if it’s in your area then you hit it for four or six and I think
that’s exactly what the guys did.

 

“We are very confident we can progress in this tournament
to the knock-out stages. The way we played today showed we don’t have to stand
back for anyone. We have a couple days off now so we’ll continue to prepare
well for our last three games and hopefully we will get through.”

 

At Bready, rain frustrated the teams from Hong Kong and
Papua New Guinea and, despite the best efforts of the ground staff and match
officials, the game was eventually abandoned before the toss could take place.
Unfortunately, the same was the case in Stirling for the game between
Afghanistan and Kenya. No-results such as these yield one point for each team.

 

Today’s scores:

At Stormont: USA 113-8, 20 overs (Akeem Dodson 49;
Bernard Scholtz 2-13)

Namibia 116-3, 12.5 overs (Gerrie Snyman 62, Stephen Baard
34, Timil Patel 2-36)

Namibia won by seven wickets

 

At Bready: Hong Kong v PNG

Match abandoned. No result – one point each

 

At Stormont: Nepal 53 all out, 14.3 overs (Sagar Pun 20;
Kevin O’Brien 3-8, Stuart Thompson 3-10, John Mooney 2-7)

Ireland 54-2, eight overs (Paul Stirling 29, William
Porterfield 18 not out; Sompal Kami 2-28)

Ireland won by eight wickets

 

At Stirling: Afghanistan v Kenya

Match abandoned. No result – one point each

 

 

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