KIAN HILTON top scored with a classy 90 as Ireland again impressed at the U19 World Cup in Bloemfontein before losing to Bangladesh by six wickets in a pivotal Group A match. 

Ireland countered the threat of the Bangladeshi spinners to post a respectable 235-8 and had the more fancied side on the ropes at 130-4 in reply, only for Mohammad Shihab James’ unbeaten half century to guide the young Tigers home with 19 balls to spare.

Hilton, a South African-born 18-year-old, survived an early chance to fine leg but then showed his pedigree, striking 11 fours and a six from 113 balls before he holed out to long on in the penultimate over.

Scott MacBeth, another who will soon be pushing for a place in the senior side, made a solid 27 in a fifth-wicket stand of 81 with Hilton, and then claimed 2-41 with his off-spin. Matthew Weldon and John McNally took the other wickets to fall.

Ireland’s final Group A match is daunting encounter with favourites India on Thursday but under the tournament’s new format coach Pete Johnston’s side will almost certainly progress to the Super Sixes stage - and with some confidence.

Meanwhile, Ireland skipper Laura Delany will be hoping to wrap up an ODI series victory in Zimbabwe today after a win and a tie in the first two games of the three-match series.