CricketEurope Ireland logo
Ireland International Matches Database
Match Report
Ian Callender

The class of Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher did for Ireland in the second one-day game against Ireland at Stormont.

The two West Indians with 46 ODIs appearances between them, added 130 for the second wicket to allow the strong Caribbean A side to breeze past Ireland's 217 with almost 12 overs to spare for a 2-0 win in the series. Smith was out for 114, from 101 balls, just three runs shy of the winning post, but Fletcher was 81 not out after ending the match with the classiest of his 12 fours. On another excellent Stormont wicket, the Ireland batsmen even enjoyed success against Andre Russell, who had taken six wickets in the first match, but David Bernard, who has played in three Tests, finished with three for 24 as the innings folded tamely with four overs unused.

Despite the loss of Wilson, Paul Stirling and Rory McCann - who kept wicket - for an aggregate of nine runs, Ireland recovered from 29 for three to 161 for four, losing only skipper Kevin O'Brien, for a hard-hitting 37 (five fours and the game's only six) off 43 balls in an dominant 27 overs as they regularly found the boundary and rotated the strike. In fact they did everything that was missing in 90 overs of batting against Australia last week and in Wednesday's 50 runs defeat. Unfortunately it couldn't last and the remaining six wickets fell for 56 runs.

The biggest disappointment was the tame dismissals of Ireland's top scorers, Andrew Poynter and Andrew White. First Poynter drove Imran Khan straight to long-on and then with more than six overs still to bat, White presented a simple catch to mid-wicket. Still, Poynter's 64 was his first one-day half century and White's 56 his second of the week but both know more was needed, although they could have done with extra help from the experienced Alex Cusack, bamboozled by spin, and John Mooney who came down the wicket to the slow bowler and was stumped.

Trying to defend a total at least 50 runs below par on a pitch getting flatter and flatter proved an impossible task with Phil Eaglestone's first two overs going for 30 runs setting the pattern for an innings when the tourists did much as they liked. O'Brien - still in charge to ensure Trent Johnston will be ready for next week - tried 20 overs of spin but only Albert van der Merwe, with his first wicket for Ireland was successful although George Dockrell will be better for his first 10 overs post-examinations.

Generally, though, everyone will have to improve if they are to justify their No 1 Associate ranking in the next fortnight.

James Hall and the uncapped Andrew Balbirnie were called into the Ireland 15 for the World Cricket League starting on 1 July in the Netherlands. They replace Gary Wilson, who returns to Surrey and the injured Andre Botha. It leaves Ireland with just 10 players with significant experience going into the tournament against their main Associate rivals but at least in Holland they are unlikely to come up against the class of Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher.

Photographs
Stormont, Belfast