If this is all Ireland have to do to reach the World Cup finals then start planning a winter holiday in Australia in 2015. Canada were swept aside in the first of the two back-to back one-day internationals at Clontarf by 133 runs and victory in the second will give them four wins out of four in their bid to finish in the top two of the One-Day League, which guarantees qualification for the finals.
It will, of course, get harder down the line with Afghanistan and Scotland lying in wait, but for gentle openers - they have already beaten Namibia twice - it doesn't get much easier than this. Ireland at full strength are a match for most Full Members so against fellow Associates they are expected to show off and once Ed Joyce and William Porterfield put on 119 for the second wicket, yesterday's result was never in doubt.
Indeed the last 17 overs, when Ireland added 151, were a batting exhibition. They failed by one run to match their record total in an ODI - the 329 against England in Bangalore - but Canada, who conceded 325 when the teams last met in a 50 overs clash, in Toronto last September, were never going to get anywhere near that. Even with Riswan Cheema in their line-up. Cheema, who scored a memorable 97 from just 45 balls in the Intercontinental Cup match at Rathmines last week, duly came in at No 6 and hit 36 off 31, but that was as good as it got for Canada. Indeed while Ireland struggled for seven overs to take the last wicket it appeared as if the visitors had got their games mixed up.
Last week they tried to hit everything out of the ground in a four-day game which was over in two. In this match their last wicket partnership of 10, in a one-day game already lost, used up 44 balls! John Mooney finally ended their resistance to give him his fourth wicket of the day and his best figures for Ireland, bettering his four for 63 against England at the World Cup. But of the seven bowlers used, all bar Paul Stirling took a wicket and the first two were taken by Trent Johnston, making a welcome return to the Ireland attack.
While Boyd Rankin struggled to find a consistent length, 37 year old Johnston, who had bowled only 18 overs since the end of May because of his knee problem, was straight back in the groove. He opened with two maidens and then took two wickets in three balls in his fourth over. Johnston is only playing these two games thanks to a cortisone injection and will undergo an operation at the end of the month, but if it keeps him going through another four World Cup qualifiers and into the Twenty20 finals this time next year, then Ireland will be grateful. He is still Mr Reliable.
The only complaint about the batting was no-one went on to score the century that Stirling hit in Toronto or Kevin O'Brien in Bangalore. Joyce went closest but after reaching a stylish 88, from 97 balls with eight fours and a six, he holed out to long-off. The straight boundary also accounted for the dismissals of Porterfield (67 off 75), Niall O'Brien (37 off 44) and Mooney before he could get going but Wilson finished the innings in some style (56 not out from 36 with four fours and two sixes) and with Kevin O'Brien (35 off 15! with three fours and two sixes) added 64 in the five-over batting powerplay.
O'Brien also became the first Ireland player to hit 100 sixes, a landmark which only Stirling, who hit his 65th yesterday, is likely to threaten.
- Khurram Chohan bowling to Paul Stirling
- Chohan beats Ed Joyce
- 4 through extra cover for Paul Stirling
- Clipped away by Stirling
- Repairs in progress
- Canada celebrate Paul Stirling's wicket
- William Porterfield drives
- Porterfield over extra cover
- Ed Joyce pulls for 4
- Porterfield cuts away
- Ed Joyce to mid off...
- ......Riswan Cheema with the catch
- Gary Wilson chops away
- Niall O'Brien to mid on ...
- ... Junaid Siddiqui takes the catch
- Runs for Kevin O'Brien
- Kevin O'Brien's 100th 6 for Ireland
- Kevin O'Brien gets under the ball and is caught and bowled
- Gary Wilson through extra cover
- Runs for Trent Johnston
- Boyd Rankin to Hiral Patel
- Patel pulls for 4
- Patel edges to wicket keeper Niall O'Brien
- Ruvindu Gunesekera also edges to O'Brien
- Nitish Kumar bowled by John Mooney
- Niall O'Brien applauds John Mooney
- Steered away
- George Dockrell
- Canada skipper Amarbir Hansra bowled by Dockrell
- 50 for Limbada
- Gary Wilson catches Limbada at mid wicket
- Riswan Cheema defends
- Niall O'Brien gathers a return
- 6 for Cheema
- Cheema pulls again but caught by Gary Wilson on the boundary
- Catch for Kevin O'Brien
- Catch for sub - Andrew White
- Harvir Baidwan to mid on ...
- .... another catch for sub Andrew White?......
- ... yes White holds on
- Catch for George Dockrell completes Ireland's victory