CricketEurope Ireland logo
Ireland International Matches Database
Match Report
Ian Callender

Wormsley Park, in Buckinghamshire may be the perfect setting for a cricket match but the Ireland squad will be in no hurry back. They lost their second match in three days, barely without a fight, and they must now hope the official World Twenty20 warm-up matches, starting at Lord's tomorrow will coincide with a change in fortunes.

The defeat on Thursday to the PCA Masters was the low of the week but yesterday's tame surrender to West Indies - hardly the most confident cricket side in the world at the moment - was not much better. National Coach Phil Simmons always said this was going to be a week of learning how to play Twenty20 cricket but the curve is still steep as they head into games against the Dutch tomorrow and West Indies, again, at The Oval, on Tuesday.

Too often yesterday the batsmen played extravagant shots too early in their innings - they were playing as if they had only 10 overs - and only one player, Kyle McCallan in his first game of the week and back as captain, got past 20. Darren Sammy bowled an impressive spell of four overs, finishing with two for eight, and on top of Lionel Baker's three early wickets, Ireland found themselves 64 for six in the 12th over; despite the skipper's efforts they never threatened to get out of the mess.

John Mooney was the best of the top order batsmen - he averaged 48 in the three matches and if his form continues this week, his clean hitting could yet force his way into the side for the finals opener against Bangladesh. Nigel Jones and Andrew Poynter are not in contention because, along with Reinhardt Strydom and Fintan McAllister they head home this morning, to be replaced by the county professionals. It probably explains why Jones, arguably Ireland's best bowler in the first two matches, was not used yesterday, McCallan preferring to use the players he must rely on for the next two weeks.

Boyd Rankin, in his first T20 game for Ireland showed what a boost he will be to the attack and McCallan's four overs, which cost just 14 runs, always had the batsmen under pressure. The rest were not so successful although Simmons chose to rest Peter Connell and Alex Cuxack, likely to be two members of his first choice attack, and Andre Botha was missing from the batting line-up.

Still, the bowlers had little to no chance of defending 119 - Ireland were actually bowled out with four balls unused - and the fact that Ireland took five wickets for 86 in reply showed how what might have happened if some of the Ireland batting had not been so reckless. The sixth wicket pair of Dinish Ramdin, captain in the absence of Chris Gayle, and David Bernard, however, hurried the Windies to victory with 13 balls to spare and left Ireland still looking for the winning habit in the shortest form of the game.