Seven runs off 12 balls, with five wickets in hand. All is going to plan in the first game.
Someone told me at that point we were 1/400 with Paddy Power to win the game. Anyone who dumped their life savings on us would have had an interesting 10 minutes or so. I don’t think anyone could have predicted want happened next.
We managed three runs off that over to take us to within four of victory in the last.
The last over could be described in any number of words. Chaotic, pandemonium, nerve-racking. There are a couple of great images of the action after the last ball. Stuart Thompson has just been cleaned out by Prosper Utseya, who came sprinting in to try and retrieve Brendan Taylor’s wayward throw. Taylor himself, is on the ground. Two more Zimbabwean’s have fallen to their knees in disbelief, while ‘Cusey’ just seemed to saunter in to the bowlers end. It really is a powerful image that encapsulates just how important the match was to both teams.
I believe we deserved the win, we played the better cricket throughout. The ball began to swing under the lights as well around the 15th over, which made life a bit trickier in the final few overs and that’s something for us to bear in mind for our next afternoon game.
In the end though, we did it. All that matters really is that we got the two points.
I thought our spinners bowled exceptionally well. Andy McBrine, playing in his first international t20 and bowling at a time where they had started to come hard against us did brilliantly to pin them back and take two key wickets. He’s an impressive young man and nothing seems to faze him, you would think he was just down at The Holm bowling on a Saturday afternoon against Brigade.
Mind you, anyone who has played there would tell you that’s a big enough stage in itself.
I think he has got a big future for us and the fact that he and George are both only 21 says that Ireland’s spin bowling ranks are covered for the next 10 years at least.
George was singled out by the captain as someone he wants to have a big tournament for us. That’s a huge compliment and it shows just how highly William regards our left arm spinner.
Wickets in Bangladesh are traditionally low and slow, not this one however. It has a bit extra bounce and I think that helped our young spin trio. On the pitch, its a lot different to what we have been playing on recently in both the Caribbean and in Dhaka.
Having spoken to a few of the Bangladeshi team they had told us to expect a little extra pace and bounce and they weren’t wrong. It probably suited us a little better than the Zimbabwean lads. I think it was an important toss to win and good that we bowled first. Taylor said he would have done the same, I think purely because this was the first t20 on the ground and neither side, nor anyone else for that matter, knew what a good score would be.
In the end, the 163 that Zimbabwe scored was probably a little under par. I think 180 was a complete match winning score, it’s not often you don’t win with 180 but 163 was certainly in the game. Paul Stirling shouldn’t bother playing the warm up games, or in fact any game that isn’t hugely important.
Of course, I say that in jest but the reality is that when a big game comes around more times than not Stirlo comes to the party no matter how he has been doing previously. Its often the same in Qualifying tournaments, he takes a while to get going but put him in a final against Afghanistan with 7,000 passionate Afghans watching I know who I’m backing to get runs.
The nature of t20 is such that not everyone gets runs and unfortunately for me I missed out. I have been on a good run since Jamaica so this one wasn’t to be. The good thing about having two jobs in the side is that if you do one well you still feel like you have contributed and like I say we got the win and the two points at the end of the day. That’ll do for me. We move on to the UAE on Wednesday before playing the Netherlands on friday, both sides we know very well and have good records against. The Dutch, especially, are a dangerous outfit and with Tom Cooper back in their ranks will be tough opposition. First though, is the UAE.
We will need to be on top form to win the next two games to see us in to the super 10 phase.
A final word on the two big Rugby wins over the St Patrick’s day weekend. My old School, Methody completed their 37th victory in the Schools Cup to bring the trophy home to BT9. A winner’s medal, after two attempts, is something I never got and to this day I wish I did.
The weekend belonged to one man however, Brian O’Driscoll bowed out of International rugby with the fairytale he so deserved. In my opinion one of the greatest sportsmen our country has ever seen.