Sports desk, May 16: Bangladesh put up yet another clinical performance to crush hosts Ireland by six wickets and got the psychological boost ahead of their tri-series final against West Indies. The final is tomorrow at the Malahide in Dublin as Bangladesh will seek for an elusive title in a tournament involving three or more teams.In what turned out to be a dead rubber at the Clontarf Cricket Club Ground in Dublin yesterday, Ireland compiled a hefty 292-8. Bangladesh made a mockery of it, reaching 294-4 with 42 balls to spare. That spoke the volume of sheer domination.
Ireland opener Paul Stirling struck his eight century and clubbed 141 ball-130 but it went in vain after the fireworks of Bangladesh’s top-order who, once accused for their vulnerability, stood tall for team’s cause for the consecutive third time in the tournament. In doing so, they kept Bangladesh unbeaten in the tournament so far. Bangladesh beat West Indies twice while their first match against Ireland in double-league tournament was washed out without a ball being bowled due to persistent rain. Liton Das, who replaced Soumya Sarkar to open the innings with Tamim Iqbal top-scored with 67 ball-76, hitting nine delightful fours and one six. Tamim too continued his rich vein of form with 53 ball-57.
Tamim and Liton put up 117 in just 16.4 overs to make the game a one-way traffic. Shakib Al Hasan kept up the tempo and made 50 off 51 before he was retired hurt. It was believed to be side strain but the extent of the injury is yet to be known.
However Mushfiqur Rahim further paced the chase with 35 off 33 while Mahmudullah finished off the game with 35 not out.
So strong was Bangladesh’s top order’s performance in the tournament that Sabbir Rahman got opportunity for the first time to face a ball. He was not out on 7, hitting the winning-boundary through wide-long region. The only spot of bother was Mosaddek Hossain Saikat. Playing his first game in the tournament he made 14.
Opting to bat first, Ireland rode on the eighth ODI century of Paul Stirling. Abu Jayed Rahi who had poor return on his debut match against West Indies on Tuesday, dazzled with cherry, claiming 5-58 in 9 overs. His bowling was key in preventing Ireland from going past 300. Striling smashed 141 ball-130, hitting eight fours and four sixes while captain William Porterfield hammered 94 off 106 with seven fours and two sixes.
The duo shared 174 runs for the third wicket stand to pave the platform of respectable total, after Ireland was struggling at 59-2 in 11th over.
Rubel Hossain gave the breakthrough, removing opener James McCollum for 5 after Ireland opted to bat first, while Rahi got rid of Andy Balbirnie, making him his maiden International wicket. Fresh from his century against West Indies, Balbirnie made 23.
Stirling and Porterfiled frustrated Bangladeshi bowlers almost 35 overs before Rahi helped the side hit back with the wicket of Porterfield.
He then removed Kevin O’Brien and Stirling in consecutive deliveries before completing his five-for, taking out Garry Wilson for 12.
Saifuddin took 2-43 to complement Rahi’s effort. Despite being a dead-rubber the stake was high for Bangladesh as they looked to give some of the players a game time before the World Cup.
Bangladesh brought up four changes to the squad from the previous match, bringing in Rubel Hossain, Mosaddek Hossin, Mohammad Saifuddin and Liton Das, in the place of Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Hasan Miraj and Soumya Sarkar.