Alamy Stock Photo Ireland's Paul Stirling [file photo].
Ireland's automatic World Cup hopes dashed as ODI match abandoned due to rain
Ireland must settle for a place in a qualifying competition as South Africa grab the final automatic spot.

IRELAND’S HOPES OF guaranteeing their spot at the World Cup with a 3-0 whitewash of Bangladesh came to a soggy end in Chelmsford, as the series opener was washed out.

Cricket Ireland relocated the games from its own home venues to Essex in the hope of minimising the potential impact of the weather but saw its worst fears realised as the first ODI was abandoned due to rain.

As a result South Africa have now booked the final automatic spot in the tournament, to be held in India in October and November, leaving Ireland to settle for a place in the qualifying competition in Zimbabwe.

Ireland’s chase was cut short at 65 for three as they pursued the Tigers’ score of 246 for nine, with heavy showers wiping out their prospects of further play. Just 16.3 overs were possible in the second innings, with a minimum of 20 needed to achieve a result on Duckworth Lewis Stern.

Left-armer Josh Little, who jetted back from the Indian Premier League to take part in the series, took three for 61 on his return to Irish colours including opener Litton Das and top-scorer Mushfiqur Rahim (61).

Graham Hume excelled with figures of two for 32 from his 10 overs and Mark Adair also claimed two.

Bangladesh, whose World Cup place is already secure, looked vulnerable at the halfway stage but made a strong start with the new ball.

The dangerous Paul Stirling fell to Shoriful Islam for 15 and captain Andy Balbirnie was bowled by Hasan Mahmud with just five to his name. Stephen Doheny and Harry Tector then added 36 for the third wicket before the former was caught and bowled by Taijul Islam just before the clouds opened.

Play never looked likely to resume and the result was confirmed shortly after 7pm. The second game takes place at the same ground on Friday.

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