Johnston signs off in style

You may not know this but a legendary figure within Irish sport retired yesterday. Trent Johnston’s career in the green shirt came to a fitting end with a 122 run victory over Afghanistan in Dubai.

Johnston signs off in style

Forced to watch from the sidelines due to an Achilles injury, the former captain left the game in this country in a far better position than when he found it.

Fittingly current captain William Porterfield honoured the all rounder by stepping aside to let his colleague pick up the trophy, and his fourth winners medal in this competition.

Ireland were given an inspired display of new ball bowling from John Mooney, who finished with the amazing match figures of 10 for 81, to claim the cup.

Ireland’s decisive second innings display meant the Afghans needed an unlikely 347 to snatch the trophy away and at 136 for 5 overnight it looked a forlorn hope. The not out batsmen, Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi didn’t see it that way and on the restart yesterday the pair batted relatively untroubled through the morning session and into the afternoon taking Afghanistan’s reply to 199, with a partnership worth 114. However, the new ball proved key and the walls of their resistance came down when Max Sorensen trapped Nabi before for a very patient 49 from 174 balls.

After that you sensed the end was nigh and, despite Shah’s individual defiance, Phil Simmons’ charges moved in for the kill. The Afghanistan batsman was left stranded on 86 not out (12 fours) as Mooney returned to the attack to rip out the last four wickets for the addition of 25 runs.

Mooney has struggled to find his best form this year and endured a frustrating 18 months with injuries. However, this day will be remembered as the final one in Johnston’s Irish career since joining Leinster from New South Wales in 2001.

Meanwhile Kevin O’Brien was named winner of the Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year while Australia captain Michael Clarke was named ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year.

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