Ireland’s World Twenty20 Qualifying campaign is fast becoming an embarrassment.
William Porterfield’s team lost for the second time in three days to Hong Kong at Malahide on Friday, putting their qualification hopes for next year’s tournament in India in jeopardy.
The final margin of defeat was just five runs, but it flattered Ireland as John Mooney flailed some late boundaries when the game was effectively up in the final over.
Porterfield blamed Ireland’s failure to adapt to their own conditions as the major factor in this defeat and the loss to Papua New Guinea at Stormont on Wednesday.
“We have not adapted to our conditions, it sounds pretty stupid but we haven’t,” said Porterfield.
“The wickets have been low and slow and people have bowled straight on them. We have bowled very well as a unit but with the bat we haven’t adapted at all.
“We have lost eight wickets today and nine wickets in the last game, all in the space of 20 overs and we haven’t looked like putting big totals on the board or scores that are going to win games in this competition.”
Porterfield accepted some of the blame himself. After Paul Stirling appeared to put Ireland in control after crashing 34 from just 26 balls to put Ireland in control chasing just 130 for victory, the innings went backwards.
Porterfield’s poor strike rate – he faced 40 balls for just 28 – was instrumental in Ireland falling behind the clock but he wasn’t the only offender. Kevin O’Brien made just five from 10 balls and inexplicably Mooney was left down at number eight.
“The problem was mental application in Belfast, but today we were a bit too cautious,” Porterfield said.
“We knew if we kept wickets in hand we would be in control but it was hard to get under the ball. We can’t use that as any kind of excuse.
“I have to take responsibility myself, I don’t know how many balls I faced but we left ourselves too much coming down the back end.”
Ireland now face the real possibility of having to beat Afghanistan, The Netherlands or Scotland to reach the finals in India, something that should never have been necessary after the kind nature of the draw handed to them.
“I don’t care who we get because we have not been good enough to win our group. I’m not sure where the group stands now, we have to get points against Jersey on Sunday and assess it from there,” Porterfield added.
“We may get two bites of it (qualification) and we have the advantage of playing on these pitches which they won’t have played on.
“It’s been hard work for the lads coming across who have been used to playing on good pitches.”
Ireland weren’t at their best in the field either. A series of dropped catches didn’t help but O’Brien (3-32) and George Dockrell (2-21) ensured Hong Kong never quite got away.
The recalled Craig Young (1-17) was impressive but at the half-way point the score was 52-1 but wickets then tumbled fairly regularly as the chase for runs intensified.
Anshuman was bowled for 22 attempting to sweep Dockrell but the pick of the Hong Kong batting was Mark Chapman who was out for 30 from the last ball of the innings.
With the exception of Stirling and then Mooney, who struck an unbeaten 18 from eight balls, Ireland’s reply just never got going.
It has been the most difficult of introductions for new coach John Bracewell and defeat to Jersey will unquestionably be a disaster.