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Match Report
Ian Callender, David Clough

For Ireland's last match of the World Cup the ambition was two fold. It was Adrian Birrell's last match in charge so they wanted to give him a great send-off. Also they started this match in seventh position, ahead of Bangladesh, so if they could put up a good performance, they would have a chance, even if they lost, of holding on to seventh position on Net Run Rate. Unfortunately they suffered an even heavier defeat than that against Australia and found themselves back in eighth position, hoping against hope that Bangladesh would suffer a heavy defeat against West Indies the following day and so perhaps not overtake Ireland. However, as things worked out, while West Indies won that match, and at one stage looked as though they might win it by a large margin, in the end the win was not enough to bring Bangladesh back down under Ireland. Ireland therefore finished its first ever World Cup in eighth place.

There was one change to the team. Kenny Carroll was given his World Cup debut in place of Andrew White. This meant that every member of the squad played at least one match in the tournament. Some might argue this was a sign of the old amatuer ethos but few if any would really say it was not the right decision.

Report by Ian Callender in Belfast Telegraph on 19th April 2007.

It was not the way Ireland wanted to end their glorious World Cup campaign but, against a Sri Lanka team which was totally professional throughout, the worst fears were confirmed. Bowled out for 77 inside 28 overs, the game was all over more than 20 minutes before lunch with the Sri Lankans knocking off the runs for the loss of just two wickets. They needed just 10 overs. Once Muttiah Muralitharan, the world's best off spinner, was named in the Sri Lanka team, Ireland were always likely to be on a hiding to nothing and with Chaminda Vaas also in the World Cup semi finalists' line-up, Ireland were more than happy to bat first. It wasn't Trent Johnston's choice - he lost his last toss of the tournament - but rather it was opposite number Mahela Jayawardene who wanted to match their possible World Cup final opponents who had also beaten Ireland in one session.

Anything Australia can do seemed to be the mantra and they not only bowled Ireland out for 14 runs less than the world champions managed in Barbados but they also reached their target 14 balls quicker, although they did lose one more wicket. But the Ireland total is still, by no means, the worst in the competition's history. Indeed, Sri Lanka bowled out Canada for 35 in South Africa four years ago, so they have form.

When Murali came on to bowl in the 19th over, Ireland were 46 for four. By the end of the 'magician's' first over it was 48 for six and by the end of his third the Irish had slumped to 54 for nine! It was their first sight of the man who has bamboozled the top batsmen around the world and it really wasn't a fair contest. The top order batsmen may have had a better chance of scoring runs against him but one over from Farveez Maharoof blew away Jeremy Bray, Andre Botha and Eoin Morgan. Bray had welcomed the fast medium bowler into the attack with two fours, one pulled through mid-wicket, the second driven through the covers and, on 20, seemed to be finding the form which brought him a century in the opening game. But, next ball, Maharoof went round the wicket, Bray got the leading edge and Russell Arnold dived forward to take the catch in the covers.

Botha was promoted to number three to allow the out-of-form Morgan to slip down a place but the Middlesex's batsman's arrival was delayed only two balls as Botha hung out his bat and edged to the wicket-keeper. Morgan's nightmare tour ended next ball, another lifting ball taking the edge and he was superbly caught away to his left by Kumar Sangakkara. Ireland were hoping for Morgan to score a century in the World Cup. He finished with 91 runs after nine innings. William Porterfield watched the wreckage from the other end but, after 10 solid overs of consolidation with Niall O'Brien, not for the first time on this tour, Porty's first attempt to force the pace proved to be his last, Sanath Jayasuriya taking another diving catch, this one at mid-on.

That wicket was the first of six to fall for three runs in 26 balls as Murali weaved his spell and Trent Johnston was run out by an athletic pick up and return throw by Maharoof on his follow-through. Murali didn't have it all his own way, Dave Langford-Smith, from No 10, showing the supposedly better batsmen how to play him and he helped himself to two fours, not to mention a six into the grandstand at mid-wicket off Maharoof. His last wicket stand of 23 with Boyd Rankin, who also managed a boundary off Murali, took Ireland past Scotland's 68 against West Indies in 1999 and Pakistan's 74 against England in 1992 but it was never enough to give the bowlers any chance of a comeback.

Rankin, however, took his usual early wicket, Upul Tharanga his 12th and final victim of a successful campaign and Kenny Carroll, on his World Cup debut, had something to remember the tournament, after his second ball duck, when his catch in the covers gave Dave Langford-Smith a wicket. He was denied a second when the Sri Lanka captain was missed at mid-off by John Mooney but in the end the class of Jayasuriya eased the Asians to victory. On Adrian Birrell's last day as National Coach there were no more disappointed people in Grenada last night than his 15 players, but they have performed enough heroics just to get this far and they should feel proud of themselves for giving the Ireland cricket supporters seven weeks they will never forget.

Report by David Clough for Newsletter on 19th April, 2007.

Farveez Maharoof and Mattiah Muralitharan ambushed Ireland for the 2007 World Cup's lowest total to set up Sri Lanka's eight-wicket win in the Super Eight match at Queens Park in Grenada. Ireland had lost three wickets in four balls with the score stuck on 28 in Maharoof's first over, and Muralitharan waded in with 4-19 to finish the minnows off for just 77. Sri Lanka's batsmen then wrapped up an uneven contest in 10 overs before lunch, to make sure of finishing third at worst in the table, almost certainly avoiding favourites Australia and instead facing New Zealand in Jamaica in next week's semi-finals.

For Ireland, it was an unfortunate final performance in what has been a patchy but largely admirable campaign. They were put in on a sunny morning but on a pitch offering seam movement, and with the help of five ducks were bundled out in 27.4 overs, losing six wickets for eight runs at one stage. Maharoof's eventful opening over came after he was introduced in place of the highly economical Kulasekhera. The medium-pacers first two balls were dispatched for boundaries by Jeremy Bray, prompting him to switch to around the wicket. It was a move which paid immediate dividends when Bray checked his intention for another big shot and spliced a catch to short extra cover. Andre Botha lasted only two balls before edging behind as Maharoof, who finished with 4-25, got movement away off the pitch from his new, unlikely angle to the left-handers. A ball later, it was the same story. Eoin Morgan was the man to go for a golden duck, with Kumar Sangakkara this time taking an outstanding one-handed catch diving away to his left. Niall O'Brien and William Porterfield avoided more damage for 10 overs, until the opener fell to Maharoof, aiming to hit to leg but managing only to hole out to mid-off. Muralitharan's arrival was cunningly timed for the next over, and he struck with his second ball when O'Brien was caught behind pushing up the line. Kenny Carroll was therefore put in the unenviable position, needing to keep out the remaining four balls of the over on his World Cup debut, having played no cricket in the past month. He fell to the second ball, trying to sweep the master off-spinner only to be bowled middle stump around his legs. Trent Johnston was run out by Maharoof throwing down the wickets after intercepting a drive in his follow-through, and leaving Ireland at the mercy of Muralitharan. Unsurprisingly, that did not extend too far, although David Langford-Smith, dropped on four by Maharoof off Muralitharan, did enough in the last-wicket stand of 23 to help Ireland down to sixth in the list of all-time lowest Cup scorers.

In their haste to complete the formalities, Sri Lanka lost Upal Tharanga for a duck and Sangakkara cheaply too to aerial off side shots, off Boyd Rankin and Langford-Smith respectively. But Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene, put down on seven at mid-on, duly ensured there would not be a significant wobble.