In the final practice match for both teams, Ireland easily beat Canada by 7 wickets at Trinidad today. In the 13-a-side match, Ireland skittled Canada for just 115 runs and easily chased down the total in just under 27 overs. The win is encouraging for Ireland, and the loss is disheartening for Canada, who see their old bad habits returning at a most inopportune time.
Ireland won the toss, and chose to put Canada in to bat first. Clearly it was the correct decision, as the wickets tumbled rapidly throughout the morning session. Only three Canadian batsmen were able to make the double digits, and only one - Geoff Barnett, with 27 - was able to score more runs than the number of extras given by the Ireland bowlers. The Irish bowlers deserve credit, though, as the opening partnership of Langford-Smith (4-41) and Rankin (1-26) were superb. Kyle McCallan had the most spectacular (though brief) spell, taking 2 wickets for no runs and bowling just 5 balls.
As Canada's innings lasted just 32.5 overs, Ireland were able to bat 9 overs before lunch. They reached 36/1 at that point, and never looked back. The Canadian bowlers did well, taking a few early wickets and restricting the run rate to just over 4, but they had no chance defending this very small target presented by the batsmen. Jeremy Bray was the top scorer, putting up an unbeaten 41 runs. Umar Bhatti was particularly effective with the ball, conceding just 14 runs off 7 overs, though he was unable to take a wicket.
For Ireland, this gives them confidence heading into the group stage, while Canada will feel just the opposite. We will see if Ireland can continue with the momentum, and whether Canada can recover theirs, next week when the World Cup begins in earnest.