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Ian Callender

Ireland captain William Porterfield demanded an improvement from their first victory over Namibia and the team delivered to complete a comprehensive 2-0 series success at Stormont. The captain took it upon himself to make sure there were no accidents at the top of the order this time with 28 coming off his bat in the first three overs and after that Ireland's victory target of 176 was a formality.

They had almost eight overs and as many wickets to spare when Niall O'Brien hit the winning run. It was the perfect response from an Ireland team who were next scheduled to take on World Cup semi finalists Sri Lanka in the first match of the Tri-series in Scotland a week later. National Coach Phil Simmons, though, believed his squad is ready to step up to another level. "We are as ready as we can be. It was good to get these two games in. We worked hard to come from behind yesterday and today we showed how we can play. We know we will have to work hard next week because of the variety and unorthodox bowlers they have but these are the matches we want and it is the best way to get better," said Simmmons.

Overnight rain put back the start to 1.55pm but Namibia, after surprisingly electing to bat, could not survive the 38 overs, bowled out for 175 with two overs unused. Even the loss of Trent Johnston to a knee injury sustained in the warm-up after the toss, failed to disrupt the team with Monday's hero, John Mooney, stepping into the breach as opening bowler and making a breakthrough in his first over.

Mooney, with the last two wickets, ended as the most successful bowler but by then Ireland were without both their first choice new ball bowlers as Boyd Rankin sat out the last 20 overs, as a precaution, with a quad strain. The big Warwickshire pace man, however, had ensured a slow start to the Namibia innings and when he returned for a second spell, he took a return catch to claim the vital wicket of Louis van der Westhuizen, sent in as a pinch-hitter after Namibia slumped to 37 for two in the 12th over.

The next three overs were high entertainment as he hit four fours and two sixes in an 18 balls innings which yielded 34 runs. But one ball from Rankin restored Ireland's superiority - and it wasn't the last inspirational bowling change of the day by Porterfield.

When Kevin O'Brien came on, he got the dangerous Gerrie Snyman with his third ball and when Alex Cusack returned for a second spell there was another breatkthrough, albeit via a run out. In the Ireland reply, Stirling was never content to let his captain do all the scoring but it was a change of mind in mid-stroke which cost him his wicket after hitting 26 off 18 balls, the ball lobbing off his glove to slip.

Porterfield hit six fours and a six in his 45 - he slowed down to such an extent that his last 17 runs used up 39 balls - before he holed out to cover but Alex Cusack, filling in at No 3 in the absence of Ed Joyce, showed he can do a job in one-day cricket at the top of the order with 59 from 55, with his eight boundaries including two sixes. His timing was perfect and it will keep him there for next week's Tri-Series.

Photographs
Stormont, Belfast