Sports desk, May 10: South Africa were confirmed their direct qualification for the men’s ODI World Cup later this year after the first ODI between Ireland and Bangladesh was called off due to rain in Chelmsford. Ireland, who now have 73 points, will play the World Cup Qualifier as they won’t go past South Africa’s 98 even if they win the next two games.
Ireland were 65 for three in the 17th over, chasing Bangladesh’s 246 for 9, when play was stopped at 4:34pm local time. The match was called off at 7pm local time when the ground was deemed too wet to be fixed up for even a 20-over game, that could have started around 8:10pm.
Ireland’s bowlers did a decent job of restricting Bangladesh to a below-par total on a good pitch. Josh Little took 3-61 while there were two wickets each for Graham Hume and Mark Adair.
Mushfiqur Rahim marked his 36th birthday with a half-century in front of a 3,000-plus crowd that mostly had Bangladesh fans. He had some help from Najmul Hossain Shanto, who made 44, but the visitors couldn’t put up a big total.
Yet, it wasn’t easy for the home side. Ireland couldn’t quite get going despite Paul Stirling’s best intentions. He struck two fours and a six but Shoriful Islam’s tight angles got him to cut one to Mehidy Hasan Miraz at backward point. In a fine opening spell from the other end, Hasan Mahmud got one to nip back through Andrew Balbirnie’s defence to clean bowl him.
Taijul Islam dropped Harry Tector off his own bowling in the 14th over, before taking Stephen Doheny’s straightforward chance in his next. Doheny struggled during his 17 off 39 balls, as Ireland couldn’t attack Bangladesh’s opening burst. The over after Doheny’s exit, though, the players had to get off the field as it had become very dark and the covers were brought on.
Bangladesh’s innings was built around Mushfiqur’s half-century and Shanto’s support act after the visitors lost two wickets in the first four overs. Little removed Litton with a searing yorker, lbw for a golden duck. Adair then had Tamim Iqbal caught behind for 14, when he had the left-hander drive at a wide delivery.
Bangladesh had a chance to recover through the middle overs but Shakib Al Hasan, Towhid Hridoy and Shanto threw away good starts. Hume cleaned up Shakib when the left-hander missed a wild heave. Fifty runs later, Shanto, who looked in good touch, hit Curtis Campher down Adair’s throat at deep midwicket. He struck seven fours in his 66-ball stay, adding a half-century stand for the fourth wicket with Hridoy, who fell soon after for 27 to give Hume his second wicket.
Ireland could have hurt Bangladesh further but Tector dropped an easy chance from Mushfiqur off Campher when the batter was on 19. Bangladesh rebuilt again, Mushfiqur and No. 7 Mehidy Hasan Miraz adding 65 runs for the sixth wicket, giving Bangladesh some hope of a good finish. But after hitting some pretty shots and providing good support for Mushfiqur, Mehidy holed out in the deep on the leg side for 27 against the run of play in the 38th over.
Mushfiqur then went on to reach his 44th ODI fifty but fell after adding a further 33 runs for the seventh wicket with Taijul Islam, holing out to the sweeper cover.