Van der Merwe puts Canada in a spin as Irish romp to victory
ALBERT VAN DER MERWE took advantage of some woeful Canada batting yesterday as Ireland raced to an InterContinental Cup victory by an innings and 11 runs at Rathmines.
The YMCA off-spinner grabbed 5-70 as Canada were bowled out for 194 in less than two sessions and then claimed another two victims as Ireland polished off their opponents for 257 in even quicker time after enforcing the follow-on.
Rarely do batting sides subside in a session, but with George Dockrell taking the final two wickets with successive balls deep into the added half-hour, the job was done and the 20 points in the bag.
Ireland top the Inter-Continental Cup table with a maximum 40 points from the first two of seven qualifying games, but the delight of winning inside two of the scheduled four days was tempered by the hopelessness of the opposition.
Rizwan Cheema smashed an entertaining 97 from only 45 balls that threatened to delay Ireland, but an innings containing 10 sixes was more appropriate to a Twenty20 knockabout.
As his team-mates got out to a series of slapdash shots, Van der Merwe was also helped by two superb catches -- the first when he held a fierce return drive to clinch his maiden five-wicket haul in a first-class match.
The second was a barely believable effort at slip by Gary Wilson, who flew full length to his left and held on one-handed to dismiss Ruvindu Gunasekera when the ball seemed to have passed him.
Off-spinner Dockrell chipped in with two wickets and a run out while John Mooney, who struck in the first over of both innings, also had two wickets to his name when, as stand-in captain, he asked Canada to follow on.
Mooney had to take the armband after Kevin O'Brien collided with Paul Stirling attempting to reach the same catch. The chunky pair left the field for repairs, but both should be fit for next week's one-day internationals against the same opposition at Clontarf.
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