Adil Rashid’s maiden one-day international five-wicket haul left England to chase only 127 to begin their longest ever summer with a victory over Ireland at Bristol.
Ireland floundered alarmingly against Rashid (five for 27), and Joe Root’s part-time off-breaks, to be bowled out for 126 in just 33 overs of their first international match in England.
William Porterfield chose to bat first after winning the toss on a sunny and breezy morning and initial signs were that his team may prove competitive in this first of two Royal London Series fixtures.
However, two wickets in successive overs saw off both openers to peg back a bright start, and Ireland never recovered their composure.
Captain Porterfield admitted his decision to bat first played a role in Ireland’s defeat at the Brightside Ground. After an opening stand of 40 inside six overs from Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce, Ireland collapsed to post a meagre total of 126.
The hosts had little difficulty reaching their target, with Alex Hales firing 55 off just 39 balls, as England cruised to a seven-wicket triumph.
Asked if he would make the same decision to bat again, Porterfield said: “Potentially, we may have had a bowl.
“It makes it a lot easier for them to knock them off when they are chasing 120. We knew it was going to do a little bit, but it was the spin that did the damage and not the seamers.
Porterfield added: “I’d never use the phrase out of [our] depth. I think we started off pretty positively... [and] wouldn’t necessarily have envisaged that spin would do the damage.
“Not taking anything away from Rashid, we should have played it a lot better. That’s something we need to mentally put right for Sunday.”
Ireland have now lost all 10 of their games against the top-eight ranked cricket nations since the 2015 World Cup, but Porterfield hopes his side can put an end to that unwanted run in tomorrow’s second one-day international at Lord’s.
A near-capacity crowd of 25,000 is expected at the Home of Cricket, including 1,000 fans travelling from Ireland and many more from London’s large Irish community.
“You want to entertain, but you also want to give your home fans something to cheer about, especially when they travel and come out in big numbers and give you that support,” said Porterfield.
“So, that’s definitely a motivating factor for Sunday, as well, and you want to put in that performance for them and there’s no reason we can’t turn it around, we’ve done it before, came from behind at different times and we’ll be looking to do that on Sunday, as well.”
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