Friday 15 December 2017

Balbirnie guides Ireland home

Ed Joyce helped Ireland to a four-wicket warm-up win over Bangladesh in Sydney
Ed Joyce helped Ireland to a four-wicket warm-up win over Bangladesh in Sydney

Ireland completed their World Cup preparations with a confidence-boosting four-wicket win over Bangladesh in Sydney.

Andy Balbirnie's unbeaten 63 steered Ireland home after new-ball pair John Mooney and Max Sorensen claimed three wickets each to bowl out the Tigers for 189.

It was Ireland's first win since they arrived in Australia last week and provided a much-needed lift ahead of their opening group game against West Indies in Nelson on February 16.

Ireland suffered a thumping 179-run defeat to Scotland in a warm-up match on Tuesday after losing their opening fixture to Sydney grade side Randwick-Petersham.

"We had a poor day two days ago and we had needed to put it right before the tournament started," Balbirnie said.

"I thought everyone bowled particularly well. It was a great 50 overs to start and then we saw it home at the end."

Young right-hander Balbirnie joined Ed Joyce, preparing for his third World Cup, in a decisive 59-run stand after Ireland had been in some discomfort at 78 for four.

"With someone like Ed it makes it so much easier to come in and bat," Balbirnie added.

"He tells you exactly that's going on, he doesn't make you feel under pressure, he makes everything look so easy."

Ireland's opener against an understrength West Indies has the potential to shape their hopes of getting out of the group stage for the second time in the past three World Cups.

"That's the game everyone has been looking forward to for a long time, "Mooney said. "Everyone is raring to go on Monday."

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