Ireland dropped another five points in their increasingly faint hopes of automatic qualification for the next World Cup but this time it was no fault of their own.

A batting performance which was the polar opposite of Wednesday’s debacle saw Ireland post their highest total at Stormont – and the third highest by anyone – but they were denied the chance of a comeback victory by the weather.

Heavy rain arrived during the lunch break and after three inspections, the umpires had to admit defeat just before 5.30pm as the latest a minimum 20-over reply could start was 5.44pm.

In the end it was a good toss to lose for Andrew Balbirnie as he, undoubtedly, would have chosen to bowl first also, because of the forecast but in an uninterrupted first innings, William Porterfield and Paul Stirling put on their second successive half-century partnership - so nothing new to report there.

Porterfield enjoyed ‘a life’ on 25 and then saw his opening partner caught spectacularly at wide long-on in the 23rd over. The captains, past and present then added 69 in 74 balls but both were out in the space of 10 balls and Ireland were suddenly 153 for three with 14 overs still to bat.

At the same stage on Wednesday, Ireland were 166 for three and collapsed to 228 all out. This time in a remarkable transformation – made easier because they were batting first so with scoreboard pressure of chasing a total – they crashed another 129 runs and with nine balls left still had six wickets left!

Harry Tector and George Dockrell launched the charge, each hitting sixes in successive over, and this time when Dockrell was dismissed, caught on the mid-wicket boundary, Lorcan Tucker celebrated his 25th birthday by hitting 28 off 19 balls, included a superb six over cover.

At the other end Harry Tector hit five fours in the space of eight balls before reaching his third ODI 50 in six innings. He was out in the 49th over but still the runs flowed with Andy McBrine hitting a six off his only delivery and Craig Young finishing the innings by stroking a perfectly timed straight four.

The final game is on Monday. Can Ireland do it with the pressure on?