WHAT a way to treat a hero. Two days after helping Ireland to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, Eoin Morgan was yesterday dropped and assigned to 12th man duties as his team-mates lost to Kenya by six wickets in their final Super Eight match.
Officially Morgan was left out because he will not be available for Sunday’s final against Canada but no-one at the LC de Villiers Oval yesterday was in any doubt he was being punished for his desire to leave the tournament early to rejoin county side Middlesex.
On the other side of Gauteng, Scotland must have been furious because to qualify for the World Cup themselves they not only needed to beat the UAE by a large margin — which they did — but also to see Kenya lose, which would have been the probable result against the full Ireland side.
Another strange decision by Ireland was to bat first with dew still around and in the absence of Morgan and three other senior players, Trent Johnston, Alex Cusack and Boyd Rankin, who are all carrying injuries.
Ireland struggled in the early overs, barely bettering two an over, as junior batsmen Gary Wilson and Andrew Poynter were both bowled, and skipper William Porterfield caught behind chasing a wide one.
Kenya must have feared the worse when they dropped bogeyman Kevin O’ Brien on nought, but the man who averaged over 200 against them before this innings was run-out by a throw from third man to the bowler’s end, just as he was getting into his stride.
With the Kenya seamers keeping things tight, it took a nuggetty 59 from wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien to get the innings moving and a 27-ball 34 from John Mooney to give it respectability.
A total of 208 for nine did not seem defendable, especially with Phil Eaglestone bowling three no-balls to give Kenya free-hits, but off-spinner Kyle McCallan immediately dropped into the old routine on his return to the side, bowling his 10 overs for 29.
At 141 for four after 42 overs, Kenya were second favourites, but fifth-wicket pair Collins Obuya and Thomas Odoya kept cool heads and made good use of their batting power play to get the Africans home with two overs to spare.
Kenya joined Ireland, Canada and Holland in the World Cup finals.
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