Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dockrell's cool head keeps Irish on course


GEORGE DOCKRELL booked his second appearance at the U-19 World Cup finals with a captain's innings at Coleraine yesterday that took Ireland to victory over Namibia with six wickets and 18 balls to spare.

The home side were 32-3 when Dockrell walked to the crease and looked to be heading for a nervy final day of the 10-team round robin, with Namibia's total of 245-9 a very long way off.

Leinster all-rounder Dockrell had other ideas though, and showed a cool head in two decisive stands, playing second fiddle in a fourth-wicket partnership of 99 with Jason van der Merwe before adding an unbeaten 117 for the fifth wicket with Shane Getkate.

It was fitting that the Ireland captain hit the winning boundary to finish 82 not out from 110 balls while Getkate struck the only six of the innings as he made a confident 61 from 53 balls. Van der Merwe also impressed with his 72.

As Ireland celebrated their sixth win from eight games and moved above Nepal into second place behind Scotland in the table, coach Jeremy Bray will know that he needs to find some batsmen before next July's finals in Queensland.

The bowling department has looked promising in this tournament and will be improved when Getkate is back to full pace and Sam Shannon is fit.

Dockrell is probably the best spinner of his age anywhere in the world and showed good control again yesterday in taking 3-35 and keeping a check on Namibia in the later overs of their innings.

But, yet again, Ireland's top order failed and a precarious 32-3 can be added to earlier efforts of 69-5, 43-4, 38-3, 56-5, 22-5 and 54-4.

The one batting success came against whipping boys Vanuatu and of the specialist batsmen only Van der Merwe will emerge from the qualifiers with any credit.

Ireland go into their final match against Papua New Guinea at Eglinton today still able to win the tournament, but only if Scotland slip up against Vanuatu, who have lost all their eight matches to date by large margins.

Irish Independent

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