Balbirnie hundred in vain as Bangladesh A win
Andy Balbirnie’s century wasn’t enough to guide the Wolves to victory against Bangladesh A in a high-scoring encounter at The Hills.
The Irish skipper hit 14 boundaries in an innings described as “sensational” by Head Coach Pete Johnston as the hosts chased a daunting 386.
James McCollum (43), Stuart Thompson (42) and Simi Singh with a 29-ball half-century kept Ireland interested in the chase, but scoreboard pressure eventually told, as three wickets apiece from Fazle Raby (3-47) and Syed Khaled Ahmed (3-73) saw the visitors win by 85 runs.
The Bangladesh total of 386 was dominated by a brilliant 182 from Monimul Haque who punished anything remotely wayward from the Irish attack, thumping 27 fours and 3 sixes in a brilliant match-defining knock.
He shared stands of 210 for the second wicket with Zakir Hasan (79), and 112 with Mohammed Mithun, who bludgeoned 14 fours and 2 sixes in an unbeaten 87 from just 51 deliveries.
“It’s obviously disappointing to lose the game having beaten them in the previous encounter,” said skipper Andrew Balbirnie afterwards.
“It was a high scoring game at The Hills on a very flat wicket. We didn’t bowl as accurately as I’d have liked. On a good pitch like that you’ve got to bowl stump to stump and we didn’t do that enough times.
“We’re learning all the time, and it’s great to see the excitement and enthusiasm around the young group of players”, added the Pembroke man.
“It’s never easy chasing 380. If we had been a bit smarter in the field we could have restricted them to 340 which would have been a bit more realistic.
“Facing a score like that is always a problem even with a solid platform. New batters coming in having to score at 10’s right away.
“Getting 300 is a good effort but at the end of the day we’ve lost the game, and hopefully we can out that right and level the series at Clontarf on Friday.
Wolves Coach Pete Johnston was upbeat about the display by his young charges, all part of a learning curve that will stand them in good stead moving forwards.
“First and foremost, I thought it was a great game of cricket. It’s indicative of where one-day cricket is going. It was a belter of a pitch and a fast outfield.
“It was hard work for the bowlers, but I thought Andy McBrine was excellent, David Delany bowled well in patches and Tyrone Kane was probably the unluckiest bowler on show. There were a few edges early on that didn’t go to hand, and fair play to them they capitalised on their luck, as Monimul Haque went on to score the big hundred which was essentially the difference in the match.
“I thought we paced the chase perfectly, with James McCollum excellent in the power-play, and Andy Balbirnie, Stuart Thompson and Simi Singh scoring briskly in the middle overs with Balbo scoring a sensational hundred. Unfortunately, we lost wicket at crucial times and it was difficult for new batsmen at the back end of the innings.
“This squad has shown that we have the skill sets and fire power to compete at this level. The more experience we have in high quality games like this will stand to us. If we can keep learning and play smart cricket we will be in a good place for the rest of the series.”
The teams meet at Clontarf on Friday in the last game of the five-match 50-overs series, before switching to T20 mode for three games next week.
MATCH SCORECARD HERE