Blog by: Sougat
Just before the start of the bilateral five-match series between England and Australia, the Ashes holders jetted off to the Irish coastal suburban town of Malahide, near Dublin for a one-off ODI against the Shamrocks.
Batting first, the Irish made 269/7 riding on skipper William Porterfield’s magnificent 112 – his sixth century in ODIs. However, England made rough weather of the chase, slipping to 48/4 before stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan and all-rounder Ravi Bopara took the side home with seven overs to spare.
Here are the quick flicks for the game:
First green, then blue, then green again
Ed Joyce is a confused soul. Widely regarded as one of the best players to have been produced by Ireland, the left-handed batsman chose to don the English colours after completing his qualification period in 2005. On top of that, he made his ODI debut against his birth nation and played in the 2007 World Cup before being dumped from the Lions squad. After good county performances for Sussex and Middlesex, he was granted permission by the ICC to play for Ireland in the 2011 World Cup.
A rather curious case, truth be told. Joyce is certainly a fine player, but he seems to have a rather indecisive mind. Can’t keep washing both the blue and green jerseys simultaneously now, can we?
In yesterday’s match, Joyce was dismissed hit wicket by former Irish pacer Boyd Rankin, now turning out for England. Not a very happy homecoming for our hero.
‘Traitor, traitor’, do I hear?
England’s stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan was treated to a round of boos by a 10,000-strong crowd at Malahide – the place where he spent his formative years learning the nuances of cricket – when he walked out to the crease after his side were struggling at 48/4. He probably expected that, given the fact that he had made no secret of playing Test cricket for the Poms.
What he did during the chase was score a brilliant hundred to guide his team home. Watching his innings, the initially hostile crowd replaced the boos with appreciative cheering for the ‘hometown hero’. Maybe now they will not consider him to be a traitor after all!
Porterfield soldiers on
It’s a very difficult task when you are opening the innings for your team and are also the one in charge of it on the field. But William Porterfield managed it with poise and dignity.
The southpaw scored a superb century as he went about resurrecting the innings after former teammate Boyd Rankin had rocked the top order with his pace and accuracy. He kept the scoreboard ticking, forging useful partnerships with Niall O’Brien and John Mooney, and occasionally got the odd boundary in between – he hit Rankin for a towering six over mid-wicket to reach the three-figure mark.
He would have loved to see former captain Trent Johnston – playing his last ODI – sign off with a win, but Morgan and Bopara denied him that. Nevertheless, it was a fine innings from the captain, despite ending up second-best in the contest.
William Boyd Rankin traded in the green colours for a majestic shade of blue and red, simply because he has new-found hopes of representing the English side in Test cricket. Since Ireland is not a full member of the ICC, he made the decision keeping his future playing career in mind -at 29.
Some of the die-hard Irish fans must have blanched at his blatant and outright treachery against his birth nation. They must have hated it even more when he rocked the home side’s top order and finished with 4/46 in his nine-over spell. After all, he ended his international career for Ireland in 2012 owing to persistent injuries and his ambition to play in the longest format – surely the crowd would understand his problems? It didn’t happen, and most unfortunately, Rankin’s spell turned out to be a match-winning one.
This continuous leaking of talent from the Irish shores is a serious issue that the ICC must resolve soon. Otherwise, players like Rankin, Joyce and Morgan will be completely lost to them when they finally hang up their boots.
Bopara struts his stuff
Ravi Bopara showed glimpses of his batting prowess when he hammered his maiden ODI hundred – albeit against a rather ‘weak’ team – as he paired up well with Eoin Morgan to add a record 226 runs for the fifth wicket, going past Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja’s 223.
Bopara also bowled very accurately and took the wicket of the dangerous Kevin O’Brien while giving away 41 runs in seven overs. He is clearly focused on cementing a place in the ODI side, having brought England to the threshold of victory in the Champions Trophy final. The fact that he hammered five sixes showed that the 28-year old has spent his time away from international duty extremely well. Brilliant stuff!