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Wed 8th Aug 2018

By Peter Boyd

Ireland Wolves Match Report - Game 4

The Ireland Wolves fell to an 85-run defeat against Bangladesh A, despite a century from skipper Andrew Balbirnie and a half-century from Simi Singh.

Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque was in fine form and his innings probably proved the difference as Bangladesh take a 2-1 series lead into Friday’s final match in the 50-over series at Clontarf.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, then losing Rahman early, Haque took control alongside the other opener, Zakir Hasan. He showed an array of shots all around the ground and displayed lots of technical skill.

As is true in any sport, the best players always have time on the ball and Haque (182 off 133 balls, 27x4,3x6) picked the gaps in the Wolves field placements very well. On a few occasions, though one of his 27 boundaries had a hint of luck about it too.

Andrew Balbirnie speaking after the game said, “the skipper batted really well throughout. Although we maybe didn’t get the luck he did, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Tyrone was nailing his wide yorkers and they were able to squirt a few away into the gaps.”

Haque shared in a partnership of 210 with Hasan (79; 7x4,2x6). Only Andy McBrine (1-45 off 10) was spared an economy rate of eight or higher as Haque and Hasan relentlessly attacked.

Even two rain delays couldn’t break their momentum. The first of only a few minutes or so, the second a full 50 minutes. Even when Delany finally broke the partnership trapping Hasan LBW, Haque simply regrouped and added a further 112 for the next wicket with Mithun (87*).

Mithun was the quickest to fifty of three Bangladesh players taking just 34 deliveries and he added extra impetus in the final ten overs. All told 127 runs were added in those last 60 deliveries ensuring the Wolves would have to chase a mammoth total of 386/4.

“I can’t fault the effort,” Balbirnie said, “but there’s a few areas we can work on with the ball. On pitches like this we’ve got to bowl more accurately, more at the stumps. These guys are learning fast.

“Andy McBrine was superb today,” he continued. “He maybe won’t get the plaudits, but to only go for 45 or something like that, on a day like today is incredible.

After the loss of James Shannon, James McCollum (43) and Balbirnie looked to be guiding the Wolves safely, and quickly through the early overs. McCollum replicating his stunning club form with 7 boundaries and a maximum in his innings before being undone by the left-arm spin of Rabbi.

Balbirnie and Stuart Thompson were next to come together, and they combined for 77 runs in 11 overs as the Wolves kept up with the run rate. Balbirnie was manoeuvring the field at will. In consecutive balls he pulled through square leg, then drove in front of square after the fielder had been moved to cover the pull.

Just after passing his 100 (105 balls) Balbirnie couldn’t quite clear mid-off and his 93-run partnership with Simi Singh was broken, the Wolves 233/4 with 13 overs remaining.

When Singh swept consecutive sixes into the adjoining field the chase looked on for the Wolves, however Uddin had other ideas, bowling Singh for 53 in the 39th over.

Any chance of the lower order pulling off a remarkable run chase ended when three wickets fell in just five balls. Dockrell fell caught and bowled, Tucker was stumped, and Kane was caught by the keeper off a top edge.

So, it’s an 85-run defeat for the Wolves but positives to take out of the game ahead of the final 50-over match in Clontarf on Friday and then a 3-match T20 series next week.

“We’ve a really big game on Friday,” said Balbirnie. “If we can come out of this series with a two-all then that will be great. We’ve a lot of guys in good form at the moment. Thompson and McCollum look in great nick and obviously McBrine with the ball.”

The final 50-over match takes place in Castle Avenue, Clontarf at 10.45am, Friday August 10th.

Ireland Wolves v Bangladesh A, Game 4 of 5 50-Over Matches, August 8th

At The Hills CC:

Bangladesh A 386/4 50 overs (M Haque 182, M Mithun 87*; A McBrine 1-45)

Ireland Wolves 301 a/o 46.1 overs (A Balbirnie 106, S Singh 53; F Mahmud 3-47)

Bangladesh A win by 85 runs

Bangladesh A lead series 2-1 with one game remaining

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