Boyd Rankin returned to the Ireland team in this floodlit Twenty20 game against a Trinidad XI but he could only play a major role in the team's heaviest defeat. For the first time in 25 games of the shortest variety, Ireland failed to reach 100 and, embarrassingly, their hosts reached the target just one ball into the eighth over, the fastest ever finish in an Ireland game. Yes, Trinidad finished runners-up in the World club championships last year but this team was missing their three Indian Premier League players as well as Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul who are in the West Indies T20 squad.
For Rankin, it could hardly have gone worse. Playing his first match since Warwickshire's pre-season tour of South Africa, the long-awaited comeback - this was his first game for Ireland since July - turned into a nightmare as the big pace bowler conceded 40 in his first two overs as William Perkins and Lendl Simmons, a cousin of Ireland's National Coach, hit him for three sixes and three fours. The only positive to be drawn was that he now has two overs in match conditions under his belt and Ireland have still three more games before the World Twenty20 gets under way, but there was no such excuse for the batsmen. With the exception of Gary Wilson, who was last man out for 37, they all let themselves down and for the only time batting first they failed to reach the 20th over. Indeed, they weren't even close, there were 17 balls unused and it could have been even shorter but for Wilson protecting No 11 George Dockrell from the strike by refusing a single in the 17th over. Yes, it had got to that stage.
The in-form and best T20 players in this Ireland team are at the top of the order so when they are reduced to 39 for four, it is a team in trouble. Porterfield, caught hooking again, Stirling carelessly walking across his stumps, Niall O'Brien pulling straight to square leg and Kevin O'Brien, again bamboozled by spin, were all back in the pavilion inside seven overs. Trent Johnston, who never goes down without a fight, stayed with Wilson for 26 balls and scored 16 before he was beaten by a slower ball from Kevon Cooper - hardly the most famous name in Trinidad - but the bottom five, including John Mooney, Nigel Jones and Andre Botha managed only three runs between them from 18 balls!
Ireland have a chance of revenge when the teams meet again on Friday afternoon but it will need sheer-bloody mindedness and more than a little skill to avenge this nightmare in Port of Spain.