|Date||Friday 23 April 2010.|
|Venue||Queen's Park Oval, Trinidad|
|Result||Ireland won by 9 wickets|
|Summary||Trinidad XI 104 All Out (Overs 19.5) G Dockrell 3-20|
Ireland 105-1 Closed (Overs 15.1) PR Stirling 57
Ireland bounced back from the disappointment of Tuesday’s record defeat to a Trinidad XI by turning the tables in spectacular style last night at the Queen’s Park Oval.
In a case of anything you can do, we can do just as well, Ireland made it back to back nine wicket margins in the games between the teams this week with as good a performance as it had been bad just 72 hours earlier.
When Trinidad were reduced to 61 for seven at the start of the 13th over, it looked as if Ireland would show their hosts what it was like to be rolled over for 90. But the last three wickets added 43 runs as Trinidad batted all but one ball of their 20 overs. No matter, they could have added another 43 and Ireland would still have coasted home. They were in the mood to do themselves justice this time, to right the wrongs of that Terrible Tuesday and no-one more so than Paul Stirling.
The 19 year old is set to play a key role, with both bat and ball over the next 10 days - as he has done for the last 20 - but this was as good as it gets for him in Twenty20. His previous best score in the shortest format was 43 against Sri Lanka A in Colombo at the start of February but he was determined to better that last night and he reached his eighth 50 for Ireland - and his third on this trip - off just 32 balls with five fours and three sixes. The pick of them was a superbly timed pull over mid-wicket but the lofted drive over extra cover wasn’t far behind and he added a ninth boundary before he unluckily lost his wicket, one hit away from victory. It was a wide that brought up the century partnership between Stirling and his captain, William Porterfield - content to play second fiddle to the teenager - but it was also the ball that ended it because Stirling came out of his ground and was stumped.
The only previous three-figure stand for Ireland in a T20 match was that game in Colombo and a 10 wickets win last night would have surpassed that one but Ireland were more than content to win with 29 balls to spare. Porterfield’s innings of 36 in 44 balls may have contained only two fours but it was a confidence-boosting knock for the skipper before the squad head to Guyana for the World Twenty20, which starts on Friday 30 April. After a series of low scores, without ever looking out of form, he saw the job through and it is onwards and upwards for him and his squad.
Much like the bowling attack which had the benefit of bowling first last night, despite Trinidad winning the toss, and they cashed in with Boyd Rankin showing something like his true form again and George Dockrell took two wickets with the new ball and added another at the end to finish with three for 20. Peter Connell with two and Andre Botha and Kevin O’Brien were the other wicket-takers as everyone came to the party to more than make up for the worrying loss of Alex Cusack who was ruled out with shin splints and it remains uncertain when he will be able to bowl again.
Gary Kidd, Nigel Jones and Andrew White were the other squad members left out.
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
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