|Date||Friday 13th April 2007.|
|Venue||Kensington Oval, Barbados.|
|Result||Australia won by 9 wickets.|
|Type||World Cup - Super 8 - Match 4|
|Report||Andre Botha was still suffering with his hamstring injury and was unable to be considered for selection for this game. The team therefore was unchanged from that which lost to New Zealand in the last match of the Guyana section of the Super Eights for Ireland. The team now travelled to Barbados. A number of the fans who had been out to support the team in Jamaica had decided to come out again for this Barbados leg so the Irish support grew. Unfortunately this match proved to be Ireland's heaviest defeat so far in the tournament.
Report by Ian Callender in Belfast Telegraph on April 14th 2007.
The margin of defeat may have been worse than expected but it was a day to say 'I was there'. They travelled in their hundreds from all parts of Ireland to Barbados for Ireland's first match against Australia in the World Cup finals and although it was all over before lunch the party continued long into the afternoon. If there is one country who knows how to party more than West Indies it is the Irish and they were not going to let the little matter of a nine wickets defeat by the world champions ruin their day. From the first single by Jeremy Bray to skipper Trent Johnston's chicken dance celebrating the wicket of the great Adam Gilcrhist, the fans lapped it up in the amphitheatre that is the Kensington Oval. There were many more Australian cheers in between but this was Ireland's day.
Johnston apologised to the crowd for the team 'not being up to scratch' but apart from a couple of isolated shots and a handful of deliveries, the team had nothing to be ashamed of. Even their total of 91 was only the ninth lowest in a World Cup match. Indeed Ireland had only five wickets down when they passed the all-time low of 36 and only six had fallen when they reached 45, the best performance by an Australia attack in the finals when they dismissed Namibia four years ago.
When Ireland bowled, Boyd Rankin continued his impressive form in the tournament, conceded just 14 runs off the bat in four overs as Adam Gilchrist threatened mayhem. Three successive fours off Dave Langford-Smith was his high-point but, four overs later, the captain raised the roof at the World Cup final venue with a ball that nipped back through Gilly's defences. At 62-1 for one, it was hardly panic time for the Aussies but it forced Andrew Symonds to walk to the wicket. And he should not have been there at the finish because Bray, at mid-off, got his hands to a drive but failed to hold the catch above his head. Two balls later, Symonds smashed John Mooney into the sightscreen for six and when Michael Hussey pulled the second ball of the 13th over into the Greenidge & Haynes stand, Australia had become the first team to confirm their place in the semi finals.
The change in the Australia batting order - to allow Hussey and Symonds some time in the middle ahead of their final two group games against Sri Lanka and New Zealand - was the only concession the world champions made to the weaker opposition. Captain Ricky Ponting had promised Ireland they would go for the kill and from the moment he won the toss - or rather Johnston lost yet another - he was determined to show off his magnificent team in the best possible light. With some moisture still in the pitch Ponting had no hesitation in giving his bowlers first use of the fastest pitch in the Caribbean and Glenn McGrath and Shaun Tait made deadly inroads.
Bray, not for the first time in the tournament - failed to survive the first over, yorked by McGrath and before the legendary fast bowler had Eoin Morgan caught at first slip for a nine-ball duck, Tait's express pace accounted for William Porterfield, given the slow death by umpire Rudi Koertzen and Niall O'Brien was bowled first ball. Carnage threatened. Was it all going to be too much for Ireland? Not a bit of it. Kevin O'Brien responded with two fours off Tait and managed to survive a 94mph short ball in between although Andrew White was felled by a horrible blow to the helmet from McGrath. White didn't really recover and the McGrath slower ball did for him in the next over to leave Ireland 32 for five. O'Brien saw off the opening bowlers but turned first change Stuart Clarke straight to mid-wicket and Johnston, determined to enjoy himself against his former New South Wales team-mates, made 17 from just 24 balls before he played on in Tait's second spell.
The medium pace of Andrew Symonds accounted for Kyle McCallan who chipped to mid-on and the slow arm spin of Brad Hogg was too much for Dave Langford-Smith, caught at silly point. John Mooney cashed in on his call-up, as a replacement for the injured Andre Botha, and hit a couple of cover boundaries in his 23 and, for the rest of his life, he can say he was top scorer against Australia in the World Cup. And well deserved too. Trying to defend 91 against the best batting team in the world was an impossible task and if it is any consolation to the Ireland players, the Aussies scored even quicker against South Africa in their group game.
This was a day when the occasion was always going to be more important than the result and with this unique experience behind them Ireland can now concentrate on tomorrow's Super Eight clash with Bangladesh - a game the players believe they can win.
Report by Mike Selvey in Irish Times on April 14th 2007 (via Guardian Services).
Australia annihilated Ireland yesterday by nine wickets in Bridgetown. In front of what must surely have been the biggest crowd of the tournament, a mystery free tickets and the expectation among many that Pakistan would be here go only part of the way to explaining, the Irish soon found themselves in dire straits and matters did not improve. Shaun Tait and Glenn McGrath set about them with the new ball and they recovered, after a fashion, to make 91 thanks only to Australia taking the foot off the gas and double-figure contributions from Kevin O'Brien with 16, Trent Johnston, with 17 against his compatriots, and John Mooney, last out for 23.
Ireland managed only seven boundaries as Tait, wickedly fast but erratic at times, took 3-39, McGrath added to his record World Cup tally with 3-17, and Stuart Clark, given an outing at the expense of Nathan Bracken, Brad Hogg and Andrew Symonds, took a wicket apiece. Tait's direct hit from mid-off to get rid of Mooney completed the innings.
In reply, Australia, keen to give the underused Mike Hussey some batting, sent him in first with Adam Gilchrist. After he had scored 34, Gilchrist's was the only wicket to fall, Johnston at least gaining some personal satisfaction by bowling his compatriot Gilchrist. Andrew Symonds was then dropped by Bray off John Mooney's medium pace but that was as good as it got for the Irish bowling as Symonds, 15, joined Hussey, 30, to see Australia past the target with more than 37 overs to spare.
The win gives the Australians 10 points from the second-stage Super Eights. It also became the first team to ensure their last four qualification, and it is getting harder not to conclude that this entire tournament has been set up to Australian specification and securing their third successive triumph. With the way the competition has been panning out, it still looks likely that Sri Lanka and New Zealand will contest the semi-finals and one of them perhaps the final, to be played here on April 28. Should Australia, as expected, make the final, their match yesterday, although the only one they are playing in Barbados before moving on to Grenada, offered them an advantage over Sri Lanka and New Zealand, neither of whom would have previous first-hand experience of this surface.
Yesterday's pitch, and given the way in which the new ball went through with the England pace bowlers previously against Bangladesh, promised to give the Ireland batsmen a torrid time, and once Ricky Ponting had won the toss and put them into bat, they were not disappointed. McGrath chipped the off stump of Jeremy Bray in his opening over, and by the time he took a second wicket in his third over, Tait had William Porterfield lbw with an in swinger that would have taken leg stump, and Niall O'Brien first ball. 12-4 against Australia leaves little room for recovery. Indeed Kevin O'Brien came within a whisker of edging the hat-trick ball.
Man of the Match award went to Glenn McGrath of Australia.
Derek Scott, Ian Callender and Mike Selvey.
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