Cricket: Joyce lays platform for crushing victory
KEVIN O'Brien struck his 100th international six at Clontarf yesterday as Ireland powered to a crushing 133-run victory over Canada in the first of back-to-back World Cup qualifying matches.
Half-centuries from Ed Joyce and skipper William Porterfield laid the base for a massive Ireland score and O'Brien and Gary Wilson made sure it didn't go to waste by crashing 64 from the five batting powerplay overs.
O'Brien added a second six before he was caught and bowled for 35 from only 15 balls but Wilson maintained the momentum with two maximums of his own in a blustery 56 not out that lifted Ireland to 328-6 from 50 overs.
That score was three more than Ireland amassed the last time they played Canada in a one-day international and only one short of team's record high of 329-7 to beat England earlier this year in Bangalore.
The memory of that famous World Cup win and the desire to qualify for the next finals in 2015 meant there was no let up in intensity on the field as Porterfield's team secured a third straight win in the eight-team qualifying league.
Trent Johnston claimed two wickets in an economical opening five overs and wasn't required to risk his injured knee again as John Mooney returned career-best figures of 4-27 and George Dockrell took 1-31 from his 10 overs.
Mooney, who is a fine advert for the fruits of hard work and determination, got dangerman Rizwan Cheema with his slower ball and wrapped up the reply on 195 in the penultimate over, thanks to a Dockrell catch. The only blot was Joyce missing out on his first century since returning to Ireland colours.
The Sussex left-hander was untroubled after an early lbw scare but with eight fours to his name, he fell on 88, trying to clear long off for a second six.
Joyce will aim to make amends against the same opponents at Clontarf today as Ireland look to maintain their 100pc record with a fourth successive win in the 14-game league. The top two teams qualify for 2015.
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