Yesterday in Group B, we saw Afghanistan lay down a marker to potential rivals with a powerful win over Scotland and today was Ireland’s emphatic response. On this occasion, Nepal was the side unlucky enough to encounter an Ireland team that was focussed, determined and ruthless and, having being invited to bat first, the fancied Nepalese slumped to 53 all out in less than 15 overs.
Conditions were tailor-made for seam bowling as a damp atmosphere and a juicy Stormont deck produced plenty of lateral movement. And O’Brien, Alex Cusack, Craig Young, John Mooney and Stuart Thompson all managed to hit the right areas of the pitch, making life distinctly uncomfortable for Nepal’s talented and hard-working batsmen.
Ireland’s batters completed the rout in eight overs for the loss of two wickets, capping a satisfying day for Ireland captain William Porterfield.
“Very pleasing performance,” he said afterwards. “There was a bit in it for the seamers today. There had been some rain around in the morning and overnight so that helped. I’m just happy we were able to utilise those conditions effectively. Also, it was probably as good as we have been in the field in terms of buzz and intensity, which is what we ask of ourselves.”
Next up for Ireland is Papua New Guinea at the same venue on Wednesday. After this performance, the danger could be complacency, something Porterfield is anxious to avoid
“PNG are a dangerous side as we know from playing them in a warm-up game before the last competition. We know how dangerous they can be so we’re not going to take them lightly. Every side in this competition has match-winners so you’ve got to nullify them, first and foremost. If we can bowl like that again we will put them under pressure.”
Meanwhile, the early game at Stormont saw Namibia outplay USA from beginning to end. A hapless batting display by the Americans only yielded 113 runs with Akeem Dodson (49) the only one to pass 20. Poor shot selection, below average running between the wickets coupled with some tight bowling by Bernard Scholtz, Gerrie Snyman and Louis Klazinga meant USA never looked like posting a competitive total.
Sometimes, low totals can prove tricky to chase but Snyman and Stephen Baard soon dispelled any fears Namibia may have harboured in that regard, putting on 97 for the first wicket. Snyman was eventually out for 62 off 35 balls (five fours and five sixes), caught on the long-on boundary but in reality, the game was already won at that stage and the Americans hardly celebrated.
Namibia captain Nicolaas Scholtz was pleased his team registered its first win in the tournament.
“I am more than happy. It’s great to get back to winning ways,” said the 28-year-old from Keetmanshoop.
“The bowlers set the tone, they hit their straps early on and then the batsmen just came to the party. Our fielding, also, is something we have been working hard on. The guys need to be tight in the circle. We had a couple of direct hits from the boundary and two run outs in the ring so we need to keep those standards high.
“We want to play freely. Every batsman needs to play his own game and if it’s in your area then you hit it for four or six and I think that’s exactly what the guys did.
“We are very confident we can progress in this tournament to the knock-out stages. The way we played today showed we don’t have to stand back for anyone. We have a couple days off now so we’ll continue to prepare well for our last three games and hopefully we will get through.”
At Bready, rain frustrated the teams from Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea and, despite the best efforts of the ground staff and match officials, the game was eventually abandoned before the toss could take place. Unfortunately, the same was the case in Stirling for the game between Afghanistan and Kenya. No-results such as these yield one point for each team.
At Stormont: USA 113-8, 20 overs (Akeem Dodson 49; Bernard Scholtz 2-13)
Namibia 116-3, 12.5 overs (Gerrie Snyman 62, Stephen Baard 34, Timil Patel 2-36)
Namibia won by seven wickets
At Bready: Hong Kong v PNG
Match abandoned. No result – one point each
At Stormont: Nepal 53 all out, 14.3 overs (Sagar Pun 20; Kevin O’Brien 3-8, Stuart Thompson 3-10, John Mooney 2-7)
Ireland 54-2, eight overs (Paul Stirling 29, William Porterfield 18 not out; Sompal Kami 2-28)
Ireland won by eight wickets
At Stirling: Afghanistan v Kenya
Match abandoned. No result – one point each
Tue, 14 July – Netherlands v Oman, Myreside, Edinburgh (1000-1310); UAE v Canada, New Williamfield, Stirling (1000-1310); Scotland v Kenya, The Grange, Edinburgh (1415-1725)