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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 15:07 UK

Rankin buoyed for Nairobi clash

Boyd Rankin
Boyd Rankin claimed five wickets on Saturday in Windhoek

Boyd Rankin says Ireland will head to Nairobi "full of confidence" after keeping their Intercontinental Cup hopes alive in remarkable fashion.

Rankin's five wickets helped Ireland claim an unlikely eight-run win over Namibia as the Africans were bowled out for 106 in their second innings.

The Irish now need a decisive win over Kenya next week, including a first-innings lead, to make the final.

"This win has really given us a boost," said Warwickshire paceman Rankin.

Back in May, Rankin was told he could be out for the rest of the year as he prepared to go under the knife to remedy a serious shoulder injury.

It was a frustrating time for the big Londonderry man as he was still trying to establish himself in first-class cricket after bursting on to the scene at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies.

But three months after the operation he was back taking wickets for the Warwickshire first team and he unhinged Namibia's batsmen with his extra bounce in Windhoek.

They told me it could take more than six months to get back to bowling but I did it in three

Boyd Rankin
"The scorecard suggests it was a bad pitch to bat on," said the 6ft 7in Rankin.

"But that's not the case. The truth is that we just didn't bat very well and we had to pull it back with our bowling," he said.

Having collapsed to 69 all out the first time around, Ireland managed to struggle to 164 on the second time of asking, giving them a paltry lead of 114.

Rankin (5-39) and his new-ball partner Peter Connell (3-49) fronted up for the Irish as Namibia crumbled under the pressure.

Rankin, 24, said he was relieved to be back in action after a frustrating year.

"They told me it could take more than six months to get back to bowling but I did it in three.

"Now I feel I am bowling reasonably well - there is still some pain in the shoulder but the more I bowl, the stronger it is getting.

"It was a great feeling to be able to come back and win this match and keep our hopes alive in the competition."

He added that he has benefited from working with South African pace legend Allan Donald at Warwickshire.

"He doesn't seek to make many technical changes during the season - that's more for the winter.

"It's more about the mental side of the game, how to work a batsman over, how to think more about the game, how to work batsmen out and take more wickets."

Saturday's victory stretched Ireland's unbeaten run in the Intercontinental Cup to 13 games, dating back to 2004.

They are 10 points behind Kenya on the ladder with this week's encounter, which starts on Saturday, being the last group match in the competition.

Ireland need to tie or win the first innings and then follow it up with outright victory to make it through to another decider against Namibia.

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see also
Irish claim stunning Namibia win
04 Oct 08 |  Ireland
Ireland squad for tour announced
18 Sep 08 |  Ireland
Ireland to tour Jamaica in 2009
03 Sep 08 |  Ireland

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