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Cricket World Cup: Hosts Bangladesh edge past Ireland

World Cup Group B, Mirpur:
Bangladesh 205 (49.1 overs) bt Ireland 178 (45 overs) by 27 runs

Bangladesh cricket team celebrate

Co-hosts Bangladesh edge past Ireland

By Jonathan Stevenson

Co-hosts Bangladesh held their nerve to win their first game of the World Cup as they edged past Ireland in Mirpur.

The Tigers, soundly beaten by India in their opening game, were bowled out for 205 in their 50th over, Tamim Iqbal top-scoring with 44 off 43 balls.

Andre Botha (3-32) was the pick of the Irish bowlers, but they were reduced to 110-5 in reply on a slow pitch.

Niall O'Brien (38) and Kevin O'Brien (37) got the Irish close, but they were 178 all out as Shafiul Islam took 4-21.

It had looked for long periods as though Ireland could repeat their victories over the Tigers at the 2007 World Cup and the 2009 World Twenty20, but they could not keep enough wickets in hand and Shafiul came back superbly at the end to take 4-10 from six overs in his third spell to wrap it up for the home side.

Bangladesh, who had started their tournament with a crushing defeat at the hands of fellow host nation India on Saturday, were looking for a quick response and they decided to bat first after winning the toss in bright sunshine at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

They got off to a scintillating start too, openers Tamim and Imrul Kayes sending the home fans wild with a spate of early boundaries as they reached 53 from 6.2 overs before the Irish impressively reeled them back in.

Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien started the decline, brilliantly stumping Kayes for 12 off a leg-side wide from John Mooney, before Junaid Siddique carelessly ran himself out for three as Ed Joyce hit the stumps from mid-off.

Suddenly silence descended in Mirpur as Botha struck twice in devastating fashion, fooling both Tamim and Shakib Al Hasan (16) with slower balls, dismissing the latter courtesy of a stunning catch off his own bowling.

Andre Botha celebrates the wicket of Tamim Iqbal with Niall O'Brien
Botha celebrates taking the wicket of Tamim for 44

That left the Tigers on 86-4, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Raqibul Hasan coming together to put on 61 as they tried to get Bangladesh to a respectable target.

Those plans were laid to waste when 18-year-old spinner George Dockrell came back into the attack, seducing both Mushfiqur and then the recalled Mohammad Ashraful into sweeps and having them both caught off the top edge. Dockrell finished with figures of 2-23 in an impressive World Cup debut.

Bangladesh lost wickets at regular intervals from then on, Raqibul run out by Andrew White for 38 and Naeem Islam contributing 29 as they snuck over the 200-run mark before being bowled out in the final over as Trent Johnston finished with 2-40.

The hosts needed early wickets to put pressure on the Irish and they too were indebted to a superb piece of glovesmanship, Mushfiqur's reflexes lightning-quick after Paul Stirling had misjudged a full ball from spinner Abdul Razzak.

William Porterfield was the next to go for 20 just when it looked like he had played himself in, clipping Shakib straight to Raqibul at mid-wicket to leave Ireland on 36-2 and the partisan crowd in raptures.

Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien briefly threatened to quieten them down as they settled at the crease, but the former surrendered his wicket to Ashraful, caught and bowled off a leading edge, before Ashraful struck again when he snuck one through White's lazy defences to reduce the Irish to 93-4.

Shakib had warned Ireland's batsmen prior to the game that they might struggle on the slow pitch and Bangladesh's spinners were proving as good as their captain's word, probing away relentlessly and giving the Irish very little at which to swing their arms.

Kevin O'Brien had joined his brother at the crease and he served notice of his intentions by clattering Razzak behind point for four before Niall O'Brien gave his wicket away in the next over off Shakib, caught magnificently in the deep by a full-length diving Tamim.

At 110-5 the Tigers looked to be in the box seat, but Kevin O'Brien and Botha put on 41 in 54 balls as O'Brien in particular went after Ashraful, clubbing him for one giant six and two fours before he hoisted Shafiul into the deep, caught by substitute fielder Suhrawadi Shuvo.

That started another decline from which Ireland would not recover and after Mooney was bowled by Naeem Islam for a duck, Shafiul was too good for Botha, Johnston and Boyd Rankin, the seamer finishing with the best figures for a Bangladesh bowler in World Cup history.

Ireland must now regroup ahead of their vital Group B clash against England in Bangalore on Wednesday. A buoyant Bangladesh, meanwhile, entertain West Indies in Mirpur on Friday.

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see also
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Cricket World Cup as it happened
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Andrew White column
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Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
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Cricket World Cup 2011
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