William Porterfield became Ireland's third heaviest runs scorer and the first player to score eight centuries for his country as Ireland won their 50th ODI in the grand manner. They didn't just beat Bangladesh at Stormont, by seven wickets, they hammered them and, led by their inspirational captain, who scored 108 from 116 balls with seven fours and three sixes, Ireland had five overs to spare when Alex Cusack hit the winning run.
Yet although the squad were entitled to celebrate long into the night - this was their first victory over a Full Member in an ODI since they beat the Tigers at the World Cup three years ago - the overriding emotion was merely of satisfaction. The job was only half done. The teams return for the second and final game in the series and Porterfield - who left Ivan Anderson and Jeremy Bray tied for second on seven centuries - was expecting a tougher challenge.
"It was a big toss to win today and we put them under pressure from the start with the three early wickets but they will come back hard at us tomorrow and we know there is room for improvement. We dropped a couple of catches, so we will be out to eradicate that tomorrow, but the team have been batting like that for a while now and it was great to carry on the form the lads showed in Holland. "But it is only a fantastic result if we can make it 2-0 tomorrow. We need to win both games to stay above Zimbabwe in the (ODI rankings) table and that will be the target tomorrow," said Porterfield who, when 98, passed Alan Lewis' tally of 3,579 runs and has only Anderson and Stephen Warke in front of him in the all-time list of Ireland runs scorers.
Ireland could not have wished for a better start with Trent Johnston, despite not being 100%, striking in his first over and Boyd Rankin, back leading the attack, then claiming the big wicket of the free-scoring Tamim Iqbal, caught at second slip by Paul Stirling. When Johnston made it two wickets in 14 balls, Bangladesh were 28 for three and the victory over England at Bristol just five days earlier was a distant memory. Yet, when Junaed Siddique, who went on to complete his first ODI century, and Shakib Al Hasan were adding 107 for the third wicket, it was Ireland under pressure and Porterfield wondering just how to make the breakthrough. Johnston, at slip, and Cusack, in the deep, unusually put down straightforward catches to give Shakib a double reprieve before Stirling tempted the world's No 1 all-rounder to hole out, immediately after bringing up his 50. Having said that, Gary Wilson deserves the highest praise for the way he judged the catch and timed his jump to make a difficult catch at long-on look ridiculously easy.
It proved the turning point of the game. From 135 for three in the 31st over, the tourists added just 99 in the remaining overs as Porterfield rung the bowling changes - he made no fewer than 17 in the innings - and by the end only George Dockrell was wicketless. The spectators, hidden behind the advertising boards, may have missed out on a Tamim assault at the start of the day but Porterfield and Stirling did not let them down.
The Ireland openers, who hit 80 off the first 11 overs against Australia last month, were 71 at the same stage and this time they went on. Stirling followed Porterfield to his 50 off exactly the same number of balls, 51, with seven fours but the drinks interval did for him, coming down the wicket four balls after the break and he was bowled. But Cusack proved the steadying influence at No 3 - he finished 45 not out and just one short of 1,500 runs for Ireland - and allowed Porterfield to play his full range of strokes before he was caught at mid-wicket just 27 runs from home. Niall O'Brien came and went but his brother Kevin was there at the end, as he was so often at the World League in Holland last week, as Ireland made it a magnificent seven wins in a row.
- Masrafe Mortaza, First Minister Peter Robinson and William Porterfield
- Ireland won the toss
- Boundary for Imrul Kayes
- Kayes return catch to Trent Johnston
- Boyd Rankin to Tamim Iqbal
- Tamim edges to first slip
- Paul Stirling takes a comfortable catch
- Rankin celebrates
- Rankin to Jahirul Islam
- Boundary for Zunaed Siddique
- Jahirul Islam edges to Gary Wilson in the slips
- Zunaed Siddique on his toes
- 4 for Zunaed Siddique
- Niall O'Brien keeping wicket for Ireland
- Welcome drink for Boyd Rankin
- Paul Stirling
- George Dockrell
- Zunaed Siddique defends
- Shakib Al Hasan lofts to mid off and held by Gary Wilson
- Another boundary for Zunaed Siddiique
- Mushfiqur Rahim edges to Niall O'Brien
- Niall O'Brien and Paul Stirling celebrate
- Mohammad Mahmudullah charges Paul Stirling....
- ... another catch for Gary Wilson
- 100 for Zunaed Siddique
- George Dockrell catches Zunaed Siddique
- 6 for Masrafe Mortaza
- Masrafe Mortaza bowled by Alex Cusack
- Paul Stirling cuts
- William Porterfield on the drive
- Stirling pulls
- More runs for Porterfield
- 50 for Stirling
- Stirling bowled for 52
- Alex Cusack made 45
- 100 for William Porterfield
- Runs for Cusack
- Masrafe Mortaza catches Porterfield
- William Porterfield made 108
- Niall O'Brien pulls
- Alex Cusack cuts
- Kevin O'Brien scores the winning runs
- Man of the match William Porterfield and Cricket Ireland President Dr Basil McNamee