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Match Report
Ian Callender

For the second successive World Twenty20, Ireland's tournament ended in the rain and they head home wondering what might have been.

In Guyana two years ago, Ireland were on the verge of an upset victory against England, after restricting England to 120 for eight, and a repeat at the Pramadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday would have been enough to put Ireland into the Super Eight.

Instead, by a net run rate of just 0.237, it was the West Indies who travel to Kandy for the next stage of the tournament, still looking for their first win after yesterday's game was abandoned at half way.

If the West Indies innings had started they would have been favourites to overtake Ireland's 129, just six more than they totalled in the first match against Australia - which they lost by seven wickets, albeit in one over fewer - but one suspected not nearly enough to trouble a formidable batting unit which is one of the favourites to succeed England as champions this year, especially as Ireland had to go into the match without their strike bowler.

Boyd Rankin was the one player who failed to recover from the bug which swept through the squad and was ruled out just before the toss which William Porterfield lost and he was sent into bat.

It was the nightmare scenario for Porterfield and, embarrassingly for the Ireland skipper, he again failed to survive the first ball. On Wednesday, it was a short ball from Shane Watson which undid him, this time it was a yorker from Fidel Edwards which ripped through his defence and for the fifth time in 2012, Ed Joyce was walking out to face the second ball of the innings.

Joyce started positively with two fours in his first four balls but there would be only seven more in the next 10 overs (three each from Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson) and not one in the last eight, although at least they were punctuated by four sixes.

The second and fourth wicket stands both added 33 in 32 balls but just when Ireland appeared to be accelerating a wicket would fall, and they were back to square one. After Porterfield, every batsman got into double figures but not one got past 25; all faced at least 10 balls, not one more than 22. It was consistency but not the type that threatens to win a Twenty20 match against a Full Member.

Rather, it was the consistency of the West Indian bowlers which put their side in pole position, as all but Ireland's nemesis Andre Russell - not surprisingly recalled in one of two changes to the West Indies team that lost to Australia on Saturday night - taking a wicket with Chris Gayle alone managing two, each celebrated by a dance that Trent Johnston and Dave Langford Smith would have been proud of at the 2007 World Cup.

Porterfield, though, was defiant afterwards insisting that he would have been happy to defend 140 and an Ireland win was by no means out of reach, if they had played the 19 overs.

"It was a slower pitch than last week and with pace off the ball it could have suited us. A couple of early wickets could have made it interesting.

"We have to make starts count but we were just picking up momentum when the first rain came. Joyce and Stirling had just taken 10 off the fifth over and had a good thing going. We were off for 55 minutes and it was hard to go back out and start again.

" Losing Joycey's wicket straight after the restart didn't help but we were targeting 140 and that would have given us a chance," said the captain, who also paid tribute to his Warwickshire county team-mate who has called him on his Ireland career after taking 112 wickets in 82 games.

"Boyd was gutted. He was always struggling after being forced to spend 48 hours in his room and it was unfortunate for himself to miss out. He has been a big player for us and was a genuine wicket-taker in whatever format of the game he played.

It will be a big hole to fill but with Max Sorensen, Murts (Tim Murtagh) and Thomo (Stuart Thompson) all knocking on the door to take up spots and hopefully more young lads aspiring to break in, there's exciting times ahead.

"Max has been bowling well in the nets and it was unfortunate he missed out last time because of the balance of the team, but he was raring to go and the way he has been bowling the last couple of days especially, it would have been interesting to see how he went there tonight," said Porterfield

"But, we'll never know."

Photographs