DateSunday 3rd August 2008.
VenueStormont, Belfast
ResultIreland won by 4 runs (D/L).
Type20/20 World Cup Qualifier.
Report This was a weird match. It was the last match of the day. In the morning Scotland beat Bermuda. Ireland knew when they started this game that they would have to win or else net run rate could eliminate them and put them third in the group. Ireland fielded an unchanged team and, surprisingly, decided to bat on winning the toss. They had just won six matches in a row batting second in the space of the previous 10 days.

The start was awful. Then came the rain after 8 overs when the score was 41-4. There was a delay of two hours. The ICC organizing committee then decided this would be a nine overs per side match. Why they did this is very strange. The rules allowed this match to continue on the third day, as there were four days allotted to the Tournament. The decision seemed unfair to both teams. Ireland could have recovered in the 12 overs left out of the 20 and Bermuda had already taken four wickets for only 41 runs. After the rain Ireland went out and in the one over remaining scored two runs and lost three wickets.

Duckworth/Lewis then set Bermuda's total as 46 runs to win. However, the net overall run rate then had to be brought into account. Bermuda would have to get the 46 runs in eight overs to defeat and eliminate Ireland from qualifying for the semi-finals.

In opening the batting Porterfield took in a new opening partner in Niall O'Brien. The Bermuda opening attack sounded very Irish. O'Brien and Kelly started the bowling. They were both the quick side of medium. The day was overcast but warm and there was no wind. The match started at 4:30 PM. In Kelly's's first over O'Brien pulled a four but two balls later he was out to a good catch at mid-off from a drive. The fielder, Pitcher, jumped and caught the bowled left-handed over his head. 7-1-5. Kevin O'Brien replaced his brother but the second wicket fell in the fourth over, Kelly again. To the first ball Porterfield pushed his leg down the line of the off stump, missed with the bat and was LBW. 16-2-5. Five of these runs had come in the previous over when a leg-bye went to the boundary. Botha was number four. He started with a single and Kevin O'Brien hit a four over mid-off and then gave a half chance to the bowler's right, low down. A single gave Kevin O'Brien strike in the fifth over. Head up he had a wide swing at Bermuda's O'Brien and was bowled. 22-3-6. Wilson came in and got a single off his third ball. Botha, after scores of 38, 47*and 38 again failed for once. With an swinging slower ball O'Brien bowled Botha to give him two wickets in this over. 23-4-1

White came in and scored a single to make the score after five overs 24. Next over, Kelly's third, White glanced a four. Two balls later he was hit amid ships and had to retire hurt at 28-4 from 5.4 overs. Cusack replaced him. O'Brien's last over conceded five runs. Slow left armer, the bulky Leverock, bowled over number eight, the last before the rain interruption. Five more runs were scored. The total, therefore, was 41-4 at the rain which came at 5:15 PM. Poor use had been made of the first six overs of restricted field placings. It was 31-4 in those six overs. At 7:14 PM, and in fading light, the match resumed and Ireland had one over to bat. Romaine, Bermuda's captain, bowled this ninth over. Cusack skied the first ball behind the wicket and was caught by Pitcher, the only slip. The batsman had crossed and at the next ball Wilson played a reverse sweep, missed, and was stumped. 41-6-7. Strydom joined Johnston who had not yet faced a ball. Strydom got a single. The fifth ball was a leg-bye. Strydom, now the non-striker, was run out at the wicket-keeper's end trying for a run off the last ball.

43-7, including nine extras and the highest score was Wilson's seven. Bermuda used four bowlers, three of them took two wickets each. As stated earlier, Bermuda's target was 46 to win and, if they wanted to qualify, to win in eight overs. Foggo and Hemp, who is Bemudan born and now captain of Glamorgan, began at 7:30 PM to the bowling of Connell and Kevin O'Brien. Fourie was the substitute fielder for White. He was in action for the first ball. Foggo skied Connell's first ball behind the wicket. It went very high and Fourie took an excellent running catch. 0-1-0. Outerbridge came in but Hemp had crossed. The third ball of the innings had left-handed Hemp caught at the wicket. 0-2-0. Celestine joined Outerbridge and each of them scored a single to leave the score at the end of the first over 2-2.

Kevin O'Brien bowled the second over with those two runs on the board. Celestine hit the second ball hard to mid-wicket. Fourie could not hold on to it but made a great stop allowing only a single. Then Outerbridge hit a four over the bowler's head. In Connell's second over Outerbridge was LBW. 14-3-8. Another left-hander, Pitcher, joined Celestine. O'Brien only bowled one over. Then Botha came on for the second over at that end. Celestine was stumped off the fourth ball. 21-4-7. Romaine, the captain, joined Pitcher but it now did not look as if Bermuda would get the runs in eight overs. It took less so when Botha bowled Romaine in his second over. 25-5-1. Wicket-keeper Edness came in. Cusack had taken over from Connell and, in his second over, the seventh, Edness played a ball short on the off-side. Kevin O'Brien threw to his brother and the non-striker, Pitcher, was run out. 26-6-6.

G O'Brien was next. Two more singles were scored in over seven to bring the score, at the end of that over, to 28. If Bermuda were to win and qualify they needed 18 in the eighth over which was bowled by Johnston. Edness hit a two off the first ball. The second ball was a wide but a run was attempted. A throw from behind the wicket to the bowler ran out Edness. 31-7-4.

O'Brien was now at the striker's end. After two dot balls he hit a six to mid-wicket. Nine were now needed from two balls. In practice, the next ball finished the qualification issue of the match. O'Brien pulled to deep square leg where Connell caught it at the second attempt. 37-8-7. Trott, who had come in on the dismissal of Edness, played a dot on the last ball of the over.

What ever happened Ireland had now qualified for the semifinals. However could Bermuda win the match in over nine and prevent Ireland from achieving 1st place in section A? The answer was no they could not. Four singles came in the final over, bowled by Kevin O'Brien, so Ireland eventually won by four runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method.

Connell was made Man-of-the-Match for his 3-8 in two overs. Botha's 2-4 in two overs was also excellent bowling. Netherlands had finished top of section B. Accordingly, next morning, Ireland would play Kenya, who finished second in section B, in the first semi-final. The winner of this match would be a definite qualifier for the World 20/20 cup in 2009. The other semi final would be between Netherlands and Scotland, runner-up in Section B

Derek Scott

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