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Match Report
Ian Callender

Bangladesh needed practice matches prior to playing in the ICC Champions Trophy in England in September. This match and the one the following day at Limavady were sponsored byThe Gallery Bar, in Limavady. This match was reduced from 50 overs to 32 per side when rain caused a 197 minute delay after Ireland had faced 18 overs. Ireland showed five changes from the three day match v Scotland. Out went Morgan, Ogilby, Thompson and PJK Mooney (dropped) and Johnston (injured). In came DI Joyce; JA Bushe; WK McCallan; AGAM McCoubrey and GCooke. Morgan and PJK Mooney were in the party of 13 for the two games against Bangladesh.

They probably didn't deserve to win it but Ireland took Bangladesh to the last ball of the first Gallery Bar one-day international at Stormont before going down by two wickets. While Nafiz Iqbal was in the middle, the visitors, in their first warm-up match ahead of next month's Champions Trophy in England, were coasting to victory. It didn't help Ireland's cause that he had been missed three times but, the ball after bringing up his century, he gave his wicket away to Gordon Cooke and, suddenly, the Bangladesh wickets started falling.

When the Brigade captain took two wickets in two balls in the 30th over, of a game reduced to 32 overs, the Banglas had slumped from 116 for two to 182 for seven and suddenly needed 24 runs from 13 balls. Cooke's hat-trick ball, however, went down the leg side, past wicket-keeper Jonathan Bushe who was standing up to the stumps, for five wides. It was to prove a pivotal moment. The cool head of 20-year-old captain Rajin Saleh then took nine runs of Andre Botha's final over but that still left 10 to win from the last over. A two and a single from Rajin put his new partner back on strike but Tapash Baisya hit the next ball to the boundary and Bangladesh were favourites again, needing three off three. Attempting a second run to the next ball, however, Baisya was beaten by an accurate throw from Adrian McCoubrey at deep mid-off and number 10 Nasmul Hossain had to come to the wicket to face the last two balls with Bangladesh still needing two to win. A single off the next ball tied the scores and Rajin won the match by hitting the last ball over the in-field.

The one-day international experience of Bangladesh may have won the day but Ireland's fielding undoubtedly lost it. Nafiz was dropped off a skyer at cover by Andrew White on just 28, McCoubrey then came in too far off the mid-wicket boundary and the ball landed over his head for four when the number three batsman went into the 80s and, three runs before he completed a 70 ball century, with 10 fours and three sixes, Jeremy Bray just managed to reach a catch at long-off but could not hold on to it.

The blustery conditions made life for bowlers and fielders difficult but after the defeat by Northants at the end of May, National Coach Adrian Birrell said that Ireland had to learn to be the best wet weather bowlers in the ICC Trophy. He can now add windy conditions because until Cooke came on for the 22nd over, none of the home bowlers mastered the elements and Bangladesh helped themselves to some easy boundaries.

After Ireland had made 179-5 in 32 overs, their innings was interrupted after 18 overs for two and half hours, the visitors revised target was upped to 206 under the Duckworth/Lewis regulations with the bowlers restricted to seven overs each. Nazeer Shoukat bowled his spell straight through but the five runs an over conceded was to be par for the course as Nafiz took a liking to everyone. His 50 came off just 43 balls with five fours and one six and next ball 100 came up in the 18th over. The spinners fared no better with two straight sixes off White hurrying him out of the attack and only when Cooke came on did Ireland get back in the game. In Cooke's first over Nafiz gave the second of his chances, and in his third he took his wicket. When two more wickets followed in his fifth over Ireland thought they could claim an unlikely victory. The Bangladesh captain knew otherwise.

The first innings of the match was dominated by the home captain, Jason Molins becoming the first of the Ireland top three to score a half century in eight matches. He lost his opening partner, Jeremy Bray, with the total on 27 in the seventh over, for the second time in three innings the Australian was out without playing a stroke, but Andre Botha stayed with Molins until the rain break when 80 runs were on the board. Botha went shortly afterwards, caught at third man, as he was in the Northants game, Andrew White was caught at deep mid-wicket, as he was in the Scotland game, and Kyle McCallan, answering a call from Peter Gillespie, was run out three overs from the end.

But Dom Joyce, who got the number seven batting berth ahead of Eoin Morgan, hit 17 off nine balls and with Gillespie scoring 19 off 16, the total would probably have been enough, if the fielding had been up to standard. As against the West Indies earlier in the season, when they let themselves down in the first match, Ireland have a second chance against the same opposition at Limavady.

John Hunter Memorial Ground, Limavady