India restrict Ireland to 259 all out

Shukriya Pakistan

HAMILTON: Niall O’Brien and William Porterfield hit attractive half-centuries but Ireland failed to capitalise on a good start and were all out for 259 in their World Cup Pool B match against India in Hamilton on Tuesday.

Niall O’Brien scored a run-a-ball 75 with three sixes and seven boundaries while skipper Porterfield made a solid 93-ball 67.

But Ireland missed out on a chance of posting a big total against the defending champions during the middle overs of their innings on a flat Seddon Park pitch.

Batting first after winning the toss, Ireland were off to a confident start of 89 in 15 overs, with Paul Stirling (42) giving a good support to his skipper.

Stirling hit four boundaries and two sixes during his 41-ball knock before holing out to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who finished with two for 38.

Part-timer Suresh Raina bowled Ed Joyce for two before Porterfield and Niall O’Brien added a valuable 53 for the third wicket.

But once Porterfield fell, caught off paceman Mohit Sharma, Ireland slumped from 206 for three to 259 all out in 49 overs.

Mohammad Shami grabbed the key wicket of dangerman Kevin O’Brien for only one run to finish with figures of three for 41.

Niall O’Brien completed his 14th one-day half-century with a six off Ashwin but fell to a soft dismissal off Shami when Ireland needed him to stay till the end.

Andy Balbirnie, one of Ireland’s most successful batsmen in the tournament, made 24 before he swept Ashwin straight to Shami at square-leg.

India, who have already qualified for the quarter-finals, kept the same line-up which beat the West Indies in their previous game at Perth last week.

If Ireland win this game they will qualify for the quarter-finals, but if they lose they will likely have to win their last game against Pakistan in Adelaide on March 15 to reach the knockout phase. -AFP