Paul Stirling (file photo). ©INPHO/PRESSEYE/Darren Kidd
World T20

Stirling, O'Brien star as Ireland grind out win

Ireland held firm at the death to beat Bangladesh by five runs in their final World T20 warm-up match.

Ireland (164/6) beat Bangladesh (159/9) by five runs

PAUL STIRLING PUT on a batting masterclass on Monday as Ireland’s cricketers clung on for a nail-biting win against Bangladesh in Colombo.

Stirling’s brilliant 71 set Ireland on course but after Shakib Al Hasan fired a half-century off 19 balls, Bangladesh needed just 12 runs from their final two overs to steal a win.

Ireland held their composure to stave off the charge, with Alex Cusack and Trent Johnston combining to take three wickets and give up six runs off the final 12 deliveries of the innings.

“Those are the scenarios you want to be in,” Ireland captain William Porterfield told Sky Sports News afterwards. “Get yourself into those positions so that if they come up again you’ve been there and done it.”

“Things are going the way we want them to go and we’re looking forward to Wednesday.”

After the morning’s start was delayed due to weather, Ireland swung into action with Stirling firing 10 boundaries in his 41-ball knock.

Ed Joyce chipped in with a further 39 runs as Ireland finished their 20 overs at the Moors Sports Club Ground on 164/6, setting Bangladesh a manageable target.

Shakib threatened to turn the game on its head before Nigel Jones struck in the 11th over to see him back to the pavilion for 52.

With Bangladesh well within reach on 105/3, Shakib’s dismissal sparked a collapse in the middle order as Kevin O’Brien struck for a rapid-fire hattrick, taking three wickets with his first 10 balls.

Bangladesh clung on though and, on 153/6 with two overs remaining, looked set for victory before Cusack and Johnston stood firm to deny them.

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