In our first ever ODI, against Ireland in Ireland, we recovered from 67-5 and 103-7 to post 208 from 40.4 overs. Phillipe Fernandes (55) top scored and his eighth-wicket stand of 61 with Dirk Shaffer (34) was what helped us put a score of some sort on the board. Kasper Beck (25) and last man Ravi Ali (12*) added 31 for the final wicket. All our dismissals were caught but that was no slight on our batsmen. Ireland’s pacers swung the ball a lot, particularly in the early stages and it was the wicketkeeper who held six of those catches.
Having claimed our first T20I wicket, Ali accounted for our first ODI scalp. Ireland recovered from 17-1 to 111-1 however, before leg-spinner Beck (3-50) turned the tide. He was backed up by fellow twirlers, slow-left-armer Shaffer (2-39) and off-spinner Fernandes (1-14) to provide the hosts with a scare. We’d never quite posted enough runs though and Ireland reached 210-7 with 6.3 overs to spare. If we could just have batted a bit longer and added another twenty to thirty runs then we could’ve really been competitive. We’d shown Ireland that we wouldn’t be rolled over though. Onto game two in the series…
We sadly regressed! Despite a few partnerships adding around thirty or forty runs, we were dismissed for just 186 in only 34.4 overs. Max Schutt (35), Shaffer (33), Kingston Hall (28), Mo Castro (23*) and captain Louis Vincent (22) all got started but didn’t go onto produce scores of substance. Irish pacer T-J Miles (6-40) bowled superbly. He was actually on a hat-trick… twice! Both debutante Stephen Stollmeyer and gloveman Nico Keller fell first ball.
For the second match in a row, we simply hadn’t put enough runs on the board to make a game of it. Once again, our spin bowlers (Shaffer 2-29, Beck 1-30) provided Ireland with a bit of a wobble. However we were unable to sustain the pressure as the home side eased to a six-wicket victory with an unbroken 59-run stand. There was at least a wicket for the struggling Stollmeyer (1-28) and hopefully he can take the confidence gained from that into his batting.
A dead rubber it may have been but the third match meant a lot to us. We upped our game, applied ourselves better with the bat and posted… 278-9! Captain Louis Vincent (60) top scored. He compiled an opening stand of 39 with debutante Dinesh da Silva (13), who was regrettably run out. Aggressive running was a feature of our innings. Stollmeyer (23) and Christoph Vance (17) dug deep to get important runs on the board for both themselves and the team. Phillipe Fernandes contributed 39 and at 204-5, we’d avoided losing wickets in clusters. However Max Schutt fell first ball and we’d soon slipped to 213-8. Cue the arrival of Kristoff Klein! The tall left-hander struck 51 from only 35 deliveries in a partnership of 65 with strike starved Marko Markovic. Markovic (35) was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings when playing for his team and not his average. Though Klein deserved his glory, Markovic had held the innings together when we could’ve blown all our hard work.
Ravi Ali knocked over Ireland’s top order with some full and sensational swing bowling. From 38-3 however, the hosts hauled themselves to 165-3 only for captain Louis Vincent to step up. He bowled just the one over but accounted for anchorman Barry (52). Ireland slipped to 195-7 with Max Schutt (2-35) on form. He claimed the key wicket of top scorer Ortiz (82) courtesy of a nerveless boundary catch by Klein. A partnership ensued though, before leg-spinner Simon Chung (1-44) bowled dangerman Rogers (32) with his final delivery. Ireland were 239-9 chasing a target of 280 when we missed an absurd opportunity to effect a run out and seal our country’s first ever ODI victory. Number eleven Porterfield (Who neither bowled nor kept wicket in any of the matches) slogged 30 not out from 16 balls in an undefeated last wicket stand of 41 with Craig (11*). Despite three dots in a row from Ravi Ali (4-71), Porterfield made contact with the final delivery of the innings to secure a one-wicket win for Ireland. Our players sank to their knees in despair! We’d been taught a harsh lesson about the realities of international cricket.