Winless Ireland slumped to another defeat in the Friends Provident Trophy - this time by six wickets to Middlesex – after being slayed by two former Emerald Isles internationals.
Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan both contributed to the Middlesex tally as Ireland’s tame total of 175 all out was surpassed with more than 10 overs to spare.
Joyce top-scored for Middlesex with 45, with Crusaders skipper Ed Smith adding 41 and England Test hopeful Owais Shah 27.
Since their World Cup heroics against Pakistan back in March, Ireland have struggled to recapture their Caribbean form.
And Trent Johnston’s men capitulated after winning the toss and choosing to bat in today’s contest in Dublin.
Spinners Murali Kartik and Jamie Dalrymple did the damage for Middlesex, taking seven wickets between them as Ireland lost their last six wickets for just 43 runs.
It had all looked very different for Ireland early on as Kenny Carroll and William Porterfield put on 55 for the first wicket before Indian left-arm spinner Kartik prompted the home side’s collapse.
Kartik, who played two matches for Lancashire in 2005, bowled Carroll for 22, with the returning Dominick Joyce going shortly after caught by his brother Ed again off the Indian slow bowler.
With a triangular tournament on the horizon for Ireland against South Africa and India later this month, Joyce, who has been in fine form during Merrion’s unbeaten start to the domestic season, made just nine runs after a year out in the international wilderness.
The wickets continued to tumble at a worrying pace for Ireland with Kevin O’Brien and Peter Gillespie both falling to England one-day bowler Dalrymple in successive deliveries.
O’Brien was caught by pace bowler Tim Murtagh for just 12, before Gillespie got himself in a muddle and was dismissed leg before wicket for a first ball duck.
Porterfield’s near two-and-a-half vigil at the crease came to an abrupt end as England wicketkeeping hopeful David Nash sent the opener packing, stumping him off Dalrymple to leave Ireland precariously placed on 132 for five.
The Ireland tail failed to wag with debutant Alex Cusack contributing 29, with Johnston and Thinus Fourie the only other lower order batsmen to get into double figures.
Ireland never looked like skittling a strong Middlesex batting line-up littered with current and former internationals as Nick Compton and Joyce added 46 for the first wicket in quick time.
Compton eventually fell to a sharp catch from South African Nantie Hayward off the bowling of Fourie. Crusaders skipper Smith was next to go bowled by Johnston for 41 with the score on 93 as Middlesex looked to get on with things in Dublin.
Joyce, a star contributor for Ireland during their World Cup qualification campaign, fell for 45 with Shah dismissed lbw to Fourie just seven runs later.
Despite a gutsy 10 overs from Fourie, who ended up with three wickets for 41 off his allotted overs, Morgan and Dalrymple saw Middlesex home with 77 balls to spare.