Bangladesh squeezes past Ireland in World Cup match

Mohammad Isam

Mirpur, Feb 25 (PTI) Bangladesh suffered a mighty scarebefore snatching a 27-run victory over a fighting Ireland in agroup B match to bring their World Cup campaign back on trackhere today.

A tremendous display of swing bowling from Shafiul Islamwho picked up four for 21 from his eight overs helpedBangladesh scrap past Ireland with five overs to spare amidsta sell-out crowd at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Shafiul, in a late spell, took the wickets of KevinO''Brien (37), Andre Botha (22), Trent Johnston (6) and thelast wicket of Boyd Ranking (3) to help Bangladesh avengetheir previous two losses to Ireland.

Shakib Al Hasan and Bangladesh''s surprise packageMohammad Ashraful took two wickets each while Naeem Islam andAbdur Razzak picked up one each to help the team cause aftertheir opening match defeat against India.

The victory means Bangladesh would join India in the topof Group B with a single victory as they approach their March4 encounter against West Indies with a buoyant mood.

Electing to bat, Bangladesh found the going tough againstIreland as the European team bundled out the test playingnation for 205 in 49.2 overs.

However, the tigers returned with a clinical bowlingperformance to bowl out the Irish team at 178 with five oversto spare.

Chasing 206 to win, the Irish, who had beaten Bangladeshin the 2007 edition of the World Cup, were caught in the webof quality spin bowling and kept losing wicket at regularintervals.

Aware the Ireland team''s vulnerability to quality spinbowling, Bangladesh skipper Shakib introduced a pace-spinattack right from the start and it reaped dividends withRazzaq removing opener Paul Stirling on his third over.

William Porterfield (20), Ed Joyce (16), Niall O''Brien(38) and Andrew White (10) -- all got starts but couldn''tprolong their innings in the face of quality bowling.

However, Ireland still looked to be in the hunt when theO''Brien brothers -- Naill (38) and Kevin (37) -- were battingbut once they were dismissed, things were all but over for theminnows.

Kevin kept them in hunt till the 37th over, adding 41runs with Andre Botha (22). But pacer Shafiul Islam''s latefour-wicket haul put paid to Ireland''s hopes.

Earlier, Bangladesh''s batsmen failed to buildpartnerships with Tamim Iqbal (44), Mushfiqur Rahim (36) andRaqibul Hasan (38) being the only noteworthy contributers tothe total.

To Bangladesh''s embarrassment, the team did not even lastthe full 50 overs and folded up in 49.2 overs. .

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