Ireland play Sri Lanka A in the second of three one-day internationals at Stormont today (10.45am start) as they attempt to repeat some elements of Wednesday’s performance - and avoid others.
The final margin of defeat was a more than respectable 28 runs, but that only told half the story.
When Ireland were reduced to 103 for seven chasing a target of 284 a serious embarrassment appeared to be on the cards. However, a remarkable 109 from just 88 balls from Stuart Poynter got Ireland far closer than anyone could have envisaged.
So while captain Andrew Poynter claimed he had seen nothing to make Ireland fearful after the first match, he will surely need a bigger contribution from the team’s top order.
Today’s game, coupled with the third and final match at Sandel Lodge, Coleraine on Sunday, has ramifications for Sunday’s Ulster Cup semi-finals.
The clash with the matches between Bready and CIYMS at Magheramason and Waringstown and Donemana at The Lawn will be marred by the absence of key players.
At least Bready and CI will both be missing players. Craig Young will once again take the new ball for Ireland, leaving a not inconsiderable hole in the Bready bowling attack. But CI will also be without captain Chris Dougherty who will miss out on the opportunity of playing against the club where he learn his trade.
However, arguably the most significant absentee is Andy McBrine at The Lawn. The all-rounder is unquestionably Donemana’s leading cricketer and he will be sorely missed at a ground where the North West club were soundly beaten in the Irish Cup last season.
The victory margin that day for the villagers was a massive 172 runs. Donemana will surely be more competitive on Sunday against a Waringstown team bidding to make a second successive Ulster Cup final appearance.
They lost last year’s showpiece to Coleraine on home turf,