Bangladesh, ICC. Trophy Winners in Kuala Lumpur in 1997, landed in Ireland on the second day of the MCC match. They came to play seven days cricket at their own expense. Sadly only three days could be played due to rain particularly in the North-West section of the tour.
On the day after the MCC match the Irish party moved to the lovely Waringstown ground and on a firm pitch they achieved a famous victory over the ICC Associate Members World Champions. The latter fielded 11 of the players who had beaten Kenya (off the last ball) in the 1997 final.
Ireland intended to keep the same team that drew with MCC. However, Ted Williamson was injured and was replaced by Neil Carson who was making his debut on his home ground. Over a four year period Carson had a poor Interprovincial record but had scored 81 in a recent Interprovincial.
Ireland did very well to restrict Bangladesh to 229 in 50 overs. The reply was slow but showed the benefit of keeping wickets in hand. With 18 overs to go the score was 11 5 for two - exactly half way. Then Gillespie hit a six and played a wonderful innings of 94 which won the match in the last over. Bangladesh had flown half way round the world the previous day so they were a bit rusty although they had recently been playing a lot of International cricket. The day began in cold overcast conditions (no help to Bangladesh) but the weather improved to hot sunshine as the day wore on. The crowd for a debut match at cricket-mad Waringstown was disappointing. Due to a small pavilion the players had to be ferried into the village for lunch.
Ireland sent Bangladesh in. The batsmen were Athar and Rafique (who scored 26 and took three for 40 in the ICC Trophy final). The start was brisk against Cooke and Eagleson but Athar did not last long. He was lbw to Eagleson in the sixth over. 22-1-14. Abedin came in and two left handers were now together. Rafique hit Eagleson for a six and a four off successive balls, both to extra-cover. Heasley and Davy were tried and 50 was up in over 12.
Not long afterwards both batsmen were out. Heasley, the "partnership breaker", caused Rafique to play on attempting a drive. 67-2-30. Four runs later Rutherford took a spectacular catch diving to his right to dismiss Abedin off Davy. 71-3-16. The captain, Akram, arrived in the 18th over to join Aminul (who made 37 in the ICC final and was Fielder of the Trophy). The scoring rate slowed. Aminul took 11 off a Davy over but the score was 96 for three at the half way mark. Eagleson came back and the slow left arm of Anderson was tried and succeeded. Akram took one step down to the first ball of the 31st over and was bowled. 125-4-12.
Rahman joined Aminul and four fours were hit in the next few overs, 150 coming in over 36. Another double change brought back Davy and introduced McCallan's off spin. Aminul went to 50 in 58 balls in the 37th over. In the 39th over he was out for 52. He moved in to hit Davy to leg and was lbw perhaps frustrated at the current run rate. 164-5-52. Starting at 180 in the 42nd over wickets fell quickly, McCallan taking four in three overs, starting with two in three balls. Rahman was caught by Anderson at long-on and two balls later Mahmud was bowled. 180 for seven with eight overs left. In the next McCallan over Mashud (wicket-keeping award in the ICC Trophy) was caught at wide mid-on and Haque Moni departed in McCallan's following over, Smyth catching him on the mid-wicket boundary. 188 for nine with 27 balls left.
Hasibul, the number 10, was three when Morshed arrived at number 11. There were a quiet two overs from McCallan and Cooke, 195 after 47 overs. Then 18 came off McCallan's seventh over, the 48th. Hasibul hit two straight sixes and an off-driven four. Cooke bowled the 49th over which went for 11 with two more driven fours to Hasibul. Heasley was called up to replace McCallan for the last over. Morshed whacked a long hop for four but was caught at long-off next ball. This 41 run stand in 24 balls looked serious from an Irish view point. All the bowlers tried did well until the final Bangladesh charge. McCallan had four for 35 in seven overs which had been four for 11 in six! The Irish fielding and throwing was very sharp.
After lunch McCallan and Carson started for Ireland to Morshed and Hasibul. Carson's first two scoring shots were a four from an overthrow and another from a snick. McCallan also hit two fours and 37 was up in 10 overs. Athar and Mahmud were tried and 50 was up in over 14. Rafique, slow left arm, and Rahman, off spin came on and 74 was up after over 20. There had been a near run out when Carson refused a run.
In over 21 Rafique bowled McCallan around his legs while trying to sweep. 74-1-22. With a pull for four off Rahman Carson went to 52 on debut out of 80 in the 22nd over. He had played very well but his end in the next over was a sad let down. He heaved at Rafique with his head in the air and was bowled. 85-2-52 (in 71 balls). Gillespie joined Smyth who hit 3 fours in his first 15 runs. 103 was up after 29 overs and 108 after 30. So 122 was required in the last 20 overs. This was a high target, one run per ball, but only two wickets down. At 112 Gillespie was dropped at the wicket in the 32nd over. The scoring rate went up a gear when Gillespie hit Hoque Moni for a towering six to long-on in the 33rd over. Nine, seven and six runs came in successive overs. Then tragedy in the 36th over. Smyth (30) was run out at 138. Gillespie called Smyth who refused and then went and was run out by the wicket-keeper. Gillespie had played to mid-on and it was not a good call.
Heasley came in and the rate slowed again. 11 runs came in three overs - all in singles. 149 was up in 39 overs. 11 overs were left to get 81 a rate of more than seven per over. Heasley, unusually, left the assault to Gillespie. In the next six overs Heasley faced 14 balls and scored 10 runs while Gillespie faced 22 balls and scored 39 runs. In two overs, 40th and 41st, Gillespie scored 20 with four fours and went to his 50 in 53 balls. Then off Hoque Moni's eighth and last over (the 43rd) 13 were scored, 12 to Gillespie including a six over wide long-on. Nine came in a Rafique over and the score was 196 after 44 overs. Now 34 were required in six overs, less than one run per ball. The next two overs brought 16 runs so now the match seemed won as 18 were needed in four overs. However the saga was not yet over. The 47th over yielded three runs and Heasley's wicket. He mishit Hasibul to mid-off. Heasley had made 16 in 30 balls with one four and 12 singles. Mooney came in with 15 needed off 20 balls. Hasibul was now bowled out with 53 runs off his 10 overs. Rafique's next over, the 48th was also his last. Gillespie slashed him to third man for four and nine came from the over giving Rafique two for 37 in his 10 overs. Five needed in two overs. Opening bowler Athar came back for the 49th over. He had Mooney lbw second ball and Eagleson could only get a single and that from the last ball. Four needed with Mahmud bowling the last over. Eagleson got a single so Gillespie faced the second ball. He hit it to mid-on, called a very poor run and saw mid-on hit the bowler's wicket. Gillespie's 94 occupied 118 minutes and he faced only 80 balls and hit two sixes and nine fours. It must rate very high on a list of the best innings played by an Irish batsman to win a match against high class opposition. His timing and driving were superb. Eagleson was now facing and he crashed a short ball through extra cover to win the match with three balls to spare. As there were two run outs only four wickets fell to the seven bowlers Bangladesh tried. They gave away only three wides to Ireland's 12.