Cricket: McCarter takes hat-trick as Irish close in on qualification
GRAEME McCARTER took a hat-trick as Ireland bowled out Canada for 37 at Limavady yesterday and won by five wickets to close in on qualification for the U-19 World Cup.
After scoring the highest total of the 10-nation round robin -- 313 against Vanuatu -- in their previous match, Ireland took only 25 overs to dismiss Canada for the lowest total of the tournament.
Shane Getkate claimed a wicket with the first ball of the match and also removed danger man Nitish Kumar in his second over, then McCarter stepped in with a hat-trick -- two caught behind and an lbw.
The Ireland opening pair continued to get the most from a helpful pitch and swinging conditions. Getkate took 4-21 from 10 overs and Man of the Match McCarter finished with 5-8 from his full quota.
Ireland looked to be cruising at 21-1 in reply, but typically for a team that has recorded three final-over victories, there was a twist and four wickets fell for one run, including skipper George Dockrell for a duck.
Getkate, the former Malahide all-rounder, then showed his quality with the bat and became the only Ireland player to reach double figures when he drove the winning boundary at the end of the 13th over.
Coach Jeremy Bray was delighted to move within one victory of certain qualification although with five wins from six, top of the table Ireland could probably afford to lose their remaining three games and still reach next year's finals in Queensland.
"This is a team of winners," Bray said.
"They may not all be outstandingly talented, but they all fight for each other and they are all desperate to win -- as we have shown in the close finishes.
"The pitch had a bit in it and we bowled well from the first ball -- but it certainly wasn't a pitch where you'd expect to bowl a team out for 37.
"The Canadians didn't look as though they had a lot of know-how against the swinging ball.
"The bowlers are the strength of this team and they did us proud again today and it was good to see Shane using his experience with the bat to get us home after losing those wickets."
Ireland play Nepal at Bready today and finish their campaign with games against Namibia tomorrow and Papua New Guinea on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, India's Virender Sehwag struggled on his return from injury in their tour match with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
Sehwag made just eight runs in his first match for two months as the tourists closed on 327-7.