ICC Media Release
Kevin O'Brien and Eoin Morgan rescued Ireland from a precarious position to maintain their team's 100 per cent record in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier with victory over Canada at Benoni today.
Coming together with the score on 40-4 chasing 221 for victory, O'Brien and Morgan batted cautiously in the early stages as Henry Osinde and Umar Bhatti made them work for every run with some tight and, at times, intimidating quick bowling.
But the pair gradually grew in confidence, a process that turned out to be inversely proportional to Canada's morale and by the time O'Brien smashed the winning boundary straight down the ground with six wickets and nine overs to spare, the body language of Ashish Bagai's men was that of a comprehensively defeated team.
O'Brien finished unbeaten on 89 (off 104 balls) and Morgan was 84 (off 100) as the Irish collected another two points to finish the day as they started it – on top of Group A.
Afterwards, Morgan said he was not worried when the score was 40-4. 'To be honest I was pretty calm about it. I knew it was a good wicket – that was quite evident from the first innings – so I knew if I built a solid base, I could be there at the end.
'Kevin and I compliment each other quite well at the crease. He is an aggressive player who hits boundaries pretty much anywhere he wants to while I like to accumulate my runs so it was a good partnership. The right-left combination worked well, especially as the wicket wasn't turning. The spinners found it very difficult to settle and then we made it difficult for them at the end.
'We will take each game as it comes. We are delighted to be in the Super Eight stage. That is off our minds at this stage so we can go out in our last group match (against Namibia) and just play positive cricket.'
Previously unbeaten in the tournament the Canadians knew they did not have enough runs on what was a good batting surface. Geoff Barnett (49), John Davison (41) and Ian Billcliff (38) all got good starts without being able to capitalise, especially considering the Irish fielding early on was uncharacteristically loose as they dropped four catches and missed a stumping.
But Canada coach Pubudu Dassanayake remained upbeat afterwards, comfortable in the knowledge that his side was already through to the Super Eight stage.
'In the morning when we were batting we got a good start despite a bit of juice on the wicket early on but then we didn't go through well. We lost a bit of momentum and then Ireland put pressure on us to restrict our scoring.
'But we will regroup after this and come back well in our next game against Scotland. We are capable of beating them. We are still very confident we come back hard and collect those two points to bring through into the next round,' he said.
Elsewhere, a remarkable innings of 164 from Amjad Javed (off just 117 balls, 17 fours and eight sixes) made sure the UAE beat Denmark by 119 despite a brave run chase from Frederik Klokker (77), Michael Pedersen (60) and Carsten Pedersen (58) before the Danish tail succumbed.
Namibia kept its hopes of getting through to the Super Eight alive with a solid win over Oman at Stan Friedman Oval. All-rounder Gerrie Snyman (76 and 2-19) was the man of the match as the south-west Africans ran out comfortable winners by 119 runs. However, a difficult game against Ireland in the final round of group matches awaits Snyman and friends.
Neil McCallum scored his third century in four games as Scotland proved too strong for Uganda at WITS University ground in Johannesburg. It wasn't all plain sailing, however, as McCallum and Gavin Hamilton (56) were the only ones to get past 20 for the Scots as they posted a meagre total of 209.
But Scotland's bowlers worked well as a unit with five of them taking two wickets each to strangle the Uganda reply despite some good work from skipper Junior Kwebiha (69).
Kenya put up a fine run chase after Bermuda had posted a competitive total of 259-5 with David Hemp passing 100 for the first time in the tournament. The east Africans did not panic, though, and through Kennedy Obuya (63), Steve Tikolo (60 not out), Morris Ouma (57), Collins Obuya (43 not out) Kenya got home safely with seven wickets and five overs to spare.
In the other game of the day, the Netherlands overcame Afghanistan by five wickets at Vaal University with Daan van Bunge picking up the man-of-the-match award for his unbeaten half-century.