Ireland's final match in the 2008 Friends Provident Trophy was a comedown from the Notts match played only two days previously. However, it was not all bad. Ireland bowled out a county for the first time since Gloucestershire were bowled out in Castle Avenue in 2007. Further, the total of 205 was a good possibility after chasing 240 as Trent Bridge. It was not to be. Ireland batted badly, the highest stand being 30 and 13 overs were left unused when the team was all out for only 106. The Castle Avenue pitch was not as good as that at Trent Bridge and the Northampton bowlers were better than those of Notts.
Ireland retained the team which had played against Notts and in it there were now only three players who had not travelled to the World Cup in 2007, White O'Brien and McCallan. Northampton made three changes from the team that had played Ireland at Northampton. Crook, Lucas and Panesar dropped out for Vessels, Van der Wath and Hall, the latter two South Africans.
The start was on time. Ireland's sent Northants in and in over 10 they were 38-3. Conditions were overcast and chilly but there was no wind. Peters and Niall O'Brien opened to Rampaul and Niall's younger brother Kevin. In the first five overs each batsmen scored five singles. With the last ball of over five, Rampaul had Peters caught by Stirling low and two handed to his right at second slip. 11-1-5. Hall came in and O'Brien departed to the next ball bowled, the first of over six. It was bowled by his brother and O'Brien nicked it and McAllister made the catch one-handed and diving to his left. It was the first time Kevin had dismissed brother Niall. 11-2-5.
Sales, the 2007 Northants captain, joined Hall. The latter was the more aggressive and hit three fours in two overs from Rampaul, while Sales took a four to long off off O'Brien. Next over, the 10th, Sales drove O'Brien off the back foot and gave Cusack a low two-handed catch diving in at cover. 38-3-7. White came in. After five overs each Cusack and Fourie replaced Rampaul and O'Brien. Hall hit fours in each of Cusack's first two overs, the second of which brought up 50 in over 13. Then, in over 15, bowled by Cusack, the fourth wicket fell. White played an expansive cut and his snick was caught by McAllister. 55-4-6. Wessels joined Hall and a stand of 53 ensued in the next 12 overs. Wessels got going quickly and gave Hall a 29 runs start and almost caught up. Wessels hit Fourie for a lofted four back over the bowler's head in over 18. The 20 overs score was 74. Rampaul came back for two overs, the 23rd and the 25th, when the score was 84. Wessels hit his first ball for six to square leg and hit the first ball of Rampaul's next over for six to long off. This brought 100 up and 25 over score was 105.
Kidd had come on for Fourie and McCallan joined him for the 27th over. Wessels played the fourth ball on the off side and took off for a run. Stirling's throw to McAllister was too quick for Wessels. 108-5-36. Wessels 36 had come in 38 balls. Boje, the South African Test player and 2008 Captain of Northants was next in. He got four singles in the eight balls he faced. Then Kidd bowled him with the first ball of over 30. Boje, left-handed, seem to play over the ball. 115-6-4. Klusener, a veteran of 49 tests for South Africa, during which he scored 1900 runs and took 80 wickets, was number eight. He took a single and saw Hall hid a six to mid-wicket off Kidd to bring him to 53 in 75 balls with a single six and seven fours. Hall hit Kidd for a four over wide long-on in over 32 but then followed seven overs by Kidd and McCallan for only 18 runs. The 30 over score was 122 but 150 came up after over 39. Kidd bowled the 40th over, his ninth. Hall hit the second ball for four to wide mid-wicket. The fifth ball bowled him around his legs as he tried to sweep. 154-7-72. His 72 was easily the top score of the innings and only one other, Wessels, reached 30. Hall faced 101 balls with a six and nine fours. The nine fours came out of 15 in all hit in the innings. He and Klusener had put on 39 for the seventh wicket in just over 10 overs. Klusener, joined by Van der Wath, yet another South African, did not last much longer. McCallan bowled the 41st over, his eighth. His second ball was a boundary wide. The fifth saw Klusener push out and be smartly caught by O'Brien at slip. 159-8-14. Louw, yes, yet another South African, came to join Van der Wath. Unfortunately for Ireland, they both played well and scored quickly. The stand put on 34 in 38 balls. The 42nd over was Kidd's last. He had figures of 10-0-33-2 and McCallan, who only bowled nine overs, went off after over 43 with figures of 9-0-27-1.
O'Brien returned for over 44 but this only cost four to Louw to wide mid-wicket. Rampaul bowled over 45 which cost only five runs including a snicked four by Van der Wath. Now it was O'Brien again for over 46 but this cost 13 runs, the first ball being hit for six by Van der Wath to wide long-on. Rampaul bowled the 47th over. It cost seven runs but the last ball got a wicket. White came running in from extra cover to catch a skier from Louw. 193-9-11. Brown was number 11. He is English born, from Newcastle. There were three overs left when he joined Van der Wath. Cusack, who bowled well throughout, replaced O'Brien and only a single to each batsman ensued. Rampaul bowled the 49th over. It cost nine runs and brought the 200 up when Van der Wath hit a straight six. Cusack and bowled to the last over. Van der Wath took a single from the second ball. Brown tried the same from the fourth ball but White's throw to the bowler ran Brown out.
Ireland produced a very good performance in the field and the 50 overs were bowled in three hours, a very good over rate. Rampaul and Kidd were the only two bowlers out of six to bowl 10 overs. Only Fourie of the six did not take a wicket. The least expensive was Cusack, 18 runs in 7.4 overs. Kidd and McCallan also did well. Their combined 19 overs only conceded 60 runs and took three wickets.
At 3:45 p.m. Strydom faced Van der Wath who bowled a maiden. Hall had opened in his first two matches making 22 and 14. He looked a competent player and hit Louw for a four in the latter's second over and another, all run, in his next over to deep mid-wicket. Strydom hit a straight four in Van der Wath's third over and in the same over Strydom was almost run out, taking a single to short extra cover. The fielder made a direct hit on the bowler's wicket. In the seventh over Strydom was bowled off stump by Van der Wath. 30-1-11. It was a good start in runs but a pity to lose a valuable wicket so early. Stirling came in and Louw bowled a maiden at him. Only seven runs were scored in four overs when Stirling snicked Van der Wath to wicketkeeper O'Brien. 37-2-4.
Cusack was next and scoring was slow but was helped by 13 wides in the first 16 overs. After 15 overs by the opening bowlers, Hall and Klusener, both fastish, came on. In Hall's first over, the 16th, the 50 came up. Klusener's first over, the 17th, saw both batsmen hit a four. After one over Hall was replaced by his captain Boje, slow left-arm, for the 18th over. Cusack played back to the third ball, missed and was LBW. 64-3-9. With the fall of the wicket and the weather very black Duckworth/Lewis showed Ireland should be 75 at that point were the match to end. White was next. He played out Boje's over but lost Hall in Klusener's next. Hall pushed out towards the leg side and was LBW. 68-4-27. His 27 came in 52 balls. The Duckwoth/Lewis target had now moved up to 93.
O'Brien joined White but only three runs were added before White was bowled in Klusener's third over, the 21st. 71-5-2. McCallan then came in. O'Brien played a maiden to Boje. In the latter's next over, his fourth, O'Brien hit the first ball for four to extra cover and was bowled by the fourth ball which kept low. 77-6-4. The left-handed McAllister joined McCallan and, with six wickets down, the Duckworth/Lewis had moved up to 138, 67 more runs than more on the scoreboard!!
The seventh wicket put on 11 with both bowlers bowling a maiden. The score after 25 overs was 85. The first ball of Boje's sixth over, the 30th, saw McCallan caught close to the wicket. 88-7-2. Rampaul came in and he played a Klusener's next over, the 29th, as a maiden. Boje took himself off after six overs, 3-11, and put on offspinner Brown in the 30th over. This ploy worked. Rampaul was LBW to Brown's fifth ball. 90-8-1.
The score after 30 overs was 90. Fourie had come in and in over 31 McAllister hit Klusener for a four over mid-off. 100 came up in over 32. For over 33 Boje returned at the Killester end for Klusener. Fourie hit his first ball towards mid-on. McAllister was backing up but was sent back by Fourie but a direct hit ran McAllister out. 101-9-8. In the next four overs the last pair, Fourie and Kidd added a few runs but the end came in over 37 which was Boje's ninth. He caught and bowled the left-handed Kidd. The innings had lasted not much over two hours and only seven fours were hit. Hall had made 27, his opening partner Strydom made 11. The next highest score was nine.
Northants used six bowlers. They bowled well with the pitch helping them with lateral movement. Four of the six bowlers took wickets. Easily the best was Boje's 4-12 in 8.4 overs. Klusener bowled five maidens in his eight overs (a most unusual event in a limited overs match) and took 2-20 while Van der Wath had 2-21 in eight overs. The six bowlers did, however, bowl 19 wides and there were 33 extras in Ireland's 106.
This ended Ireland's involvement in the 2008 Friends Provident Trophy. It also effectively meant a finale for Rampaul as the non-eligible player unless, of course, he were to be re-engaged for that trophy next year.