Johnston confident after Ireland victory

Ireland warmed up for their T20 World Cup battle with Australia in fine fettle after they beat Bangladesh in a thrilling tie by five runs at the Moors Cricket Ground in Colombo, Sri Lanka yesterday.

Set 165 to win, Bangladesh, helped by a quickfire 52 from 26 deliveries by Shakib Al Hasan, looked to be cruising to victory, but Kevin O’Brien took three vital middle order wickets for Ireland leaving Bangladesh to get 10 runs off the last over.

38-year-old Trent Johnston was given the responsibility to bowl it and in that last over, two wickets fell, leaving Bangladesh to get six off the last ball to tie the match.

In the end Bangladesh, who beat Ireland twice in a recent T20 series in Belfast, only managed one run.

Ireland have now won four warm-ups in a row as they face up to Australia in their opening group B World Cup game tomorrow at 10am Irish time.

“Everyone has contributed in someway shape or form in our four wins,” said Johnston. “To beat a side that would be used to these conditions is fantastic and sets us up nicely for the Aussie game.”

There is now real momentum in the Irish camp and they face an Australian side who lost their final warm-up to England yesterday by nine runs.

Bangladesh won the toss and put Ireland into bat, with openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling starting with a real rush as the pair put on 42 runs by the fifth over before Porterfield was run out for 17.

Stirling, joined by Ed Joyce, continued to plunder the Bangladesh attack and made his 50 off just 32 deliveries, reaching his half century in the grand manner with a six over long on.

The swashbuckling Middlesex player went on to make a fine 71 off 42 deliveries including five sixes and five fours, before he was bowled swinging by Elias Sunny in the 12th over with Ireland on 110 for 2.

The momentum went out of Irelands innings somewhat after that as Joyce went on to make 39 before being caught on the mid-wicket boundary in the 19th over after the dismissals of Gary Wilson (12) and Kevin O’Brien (0).

Niall O’Brien and Trent Johnson took Irelands score to 164 for 6 by the end of the 20th over.

Bangladesh lost an early wicket in reply as Nigel Jones took a brilliant catch over his head to get rid of Ashrafal (16) in the second over. Tamim Iqbal and Al Hasan came together and took the score to 72 by the eighth over before Iqbal was caught and bowled by Alex Cusack on 34.

Al Hasan clubbed Ireland and launched two huge sixes off George Dockrell before he was caught at long off by O’Brien off Nigel Jones having made 52 from just 23 balls with Bangladesh on 105 for 3.

It still looked odds-on a Bangladesh win until O’Brien chipped in with three wickets of his own and tight death bowling by Jones, Alex Cusack, O’Brien and that fine last over by vice captain Johnston saw Ireland home.

The West Indies who Ireland face on Monday in the second Group B game, had a easy final warm up game win over Afghanistan.

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