Friday 15 December 2017

Porterfield's historic century keeps Ireland right on course for World Cup

David Townsend

WILLIAM PORTERFIELD became the first Ireland batsman to score a Twenty20 international century as his side thrashed the USA by 75 runs to move top of Group A at the World T20 qualifiers.

Porterfield raced to 127 not out from only 69 balls, with his 12 fours and five sixes helping Ireland to 216-3, eclipsing their previous T20 best of 202-4 in 2010, also against the Americans.

The Ireland captain reached his 50 from 23 balls as he dominated an opening stand of 94 in eight overs with Paul Stirling, before adding 44 with Kevin O'Brien and a rapid 65 with John Mooney, who smashed 32 not out from 13 balls.

Stirling and George Dockrell then took five wickets between them to send the USA spinning to 141 all out and ensure that the highest score of the qualifiers was defended with ease.

"Of course it was pleasing to score the century from a personal angle but it was also important to get the win and maintain our 100pc record," said Porterfield, who now has a record 11 centuries for Ireland.

"It's not very often Stirlo gives me the strike, it's pretty much the other way around a lot of the time, but I was hitting cleanly from the off and I was just happy to be able to keep it going and bat through. You don't see 200-plus scored often in Twenty20 cricket, nor do you get 10 wickets taken very often, so to do both was very pleasing."

The margin of victory improved Ireland's net run-rate and sent them to the top of the Group A table after four games, with matches against Italy, Uganda and Hong Kong to come.

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