Islam's haul takes Bangladesh to victory
An inspired bowling performance by Shafiul Islam catapulted Bangladesh to a 27-run victory over Ireland in the World Cup Group B match at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Friday.
Ireland were set a victory target of 206 after dismissing Bangladesh for 205.
Andre Botha captured 3/32 and George Dockrell, left-arm spinner of Ireland, finished with 2/23 from ten overs to frustrate the Bangladesh batsmen on a slow pitch.
But Islam enabled the hosts to successfully defend a meagre score of 205 as he and Shakib al Hasan, supported by the off-spinner Mohammad Ashraful, limited Ireland to 178 runs.
It was sweet revenge for the hosts, who lost a 2007 World Cup encounter against the Irish by 74 runs.
"I thought we played really hard cricket although we didn't bat well. But our bowlers and fielders showed great character and our support was excellent," said Shakib.
Disappointed Irish skipper William Porterfield said a poor batting display cost his side.
"It's not hard to work out where we lost the game. We never settled down with the bat. The first 50 overs was pretty good," he said.
Islam captured 4/21 in eight overs, the best World Cup bowling performance yet by a Bangladesh bowler, and turned the match on its head after Kevin O’ Brien and Andre Botha had taken Ireland to within 55 runs of victory with five wickets standing.
Shakib did some of the early damage. He had Porterfield caught at mid-wicket by Raqibul Hasan for 20.
The Bangladesh captain also accounted for the dangerous Niall O’ Brien when the latter played an ambitious pull, only to be thwarted near the mid-wicket boundary by a superb diving catch from Tamim Iqbal.
O’ Brien made 38 from 52 balls, with three fours.
Botha and Kevin O’ Brien joined forces on 110/5 and looked in ominous touch as they took the attack to the spinners of Bangladesh.
Mohammad Ashraful had earlier caused some trouble to Ireland with the wickets of Andrew White, for ten, and Ed Joyce, for sixteen.
O’Brien, though, hit the ball with a straight bat and showed aggressive intent.
MOMENT THAT CHANGED THE MATCH
And with the partnership with Botha gaining momentum and reaching 41 runs for the sixth wicket, Shakib turned to Islam for inspiration.
On 151/5 he provided the breakthrough as O'Brien attempted an aggressive pull shot, only to be caught by the substitute, Suhrawadi Shuvo, on the square-leg boundary for 37 (40 balls, 3x4, 1x6).
That was the moment that changed the match.
Islam, who was on the receiving end of the Indian batsmen in the first match of the World Cup, also removed Botha when he bowled him for 22 with a swinging yorker.
He then ripped through the lower order by trapping Trent Johnston in front for six, and bamboozling Boyd Rankin for three with a slower ball.
Shakib finished with 2/28 in eight overs.
Ashraful captured 2/41 in nine overs.
Islam was able to impart impressive reverse swing and late swing, and bowled with pace.
VARYING THE PACE
Earlier, Bangladesh was off to a flyer and reached 53/0 after 6.2 overs.
But after Imrul Kayes was stumped expertly by Niall O’ Brien off John Mooney for 12, the complexion of the match changed.
Botha and Mooney used the slower deliveries, off-cutters and variation of pace expertly to put the skids under the Bangladesh batsmen.
Iqbal was the pick of the batsmen. He scored 44 off 43 deliveries, with seven boundaries.
Mushfiqur Rahim (36, 68 balls, 1x4) and Shaqibal Hasan (38, 69 balls, 1x4) played cameos and featured in a 61-run partnership to take Bangladesh to 147/4.
But once Rahim was caught off an attempted sweep against Dockrell, the innings lost its shape and Bangladesh plummeted to 170/8.
Botha (3/32) was well supported by Dockrell (2/23) and Johnston (2/40).
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Mushfiqur Rahim, Raqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Shafiul Islam, Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain.
Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), Paul Stirling, Andre Botha, Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien, Kevin O'Brien, Andrew White, John Mooney, Trent Johnston, Boyd Rankin, George Dockrell.