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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Sunday, 6 March 2011

Cricket World Cup: Ireland make India toil for win

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Group B, Bangalore: India 210-5 (46 overs) beat Ireland 207 (47.5 overs) by five wickets
Match scorecard

India cricketer Yuvraj Singh (L) celebrates the victory with Virat Kohli

Ireland fight hard but fall to India

By Oliver Brett

Ireland made India work hard for what was expected to be a routine victory in Sunday's World Cup match in Bangalore.

The hero against England, Kevin O'Brien, had a quiet game.

But William Porterfield (75) took his team to 207 despite a five-wicket haul from Yuvraj Singh, and Ireland fought like terriers in the field.

India lost regular wickets and chased cautiously, finally getting home in 46 overs to win by five wickets, with Yuvraj (50 not out) the top-scorer.

Yuvraj shared a fifth-wicket stand of 67 with skipper Mahendra Dhoni (34).

Given that the four completed innings in Bangalore over the course of the two previous World Cup matches at the Chinnaswamy stadium had produced totals above 300, Ireland's score looked well short.

But this wicket - it was the same strip on which England and India had played out their remarkable tie seven days previously - had slowed and dried up, providing more assistance to the bowlers.

So when Trent Johnston took two early wickets - Virender Sehwag caught and bowled off a leading edge, Gautam Gambhir lazily clipping a catch to short fine leg - India had to buckle down.

Sachin Tendulkar cover-drove George Dockrell's first ball deliciously for four, but the teenage slow left-armer had his revenge when Tendulkar, who played in the 1992 World Cup before Dockrell was born, missed an attempted sweep.

The ball spun, straightened and trapped the great Indian batsman plum lbw in front - and he had the class not to refer the decision to the third umpire.

By then, Tendulkar (38) and Virat Kohli (34) appeared to have broken the back of the chase in a 63-run partnership.

But three overs after Tendulkar had been sent on his way, Kohli was run out after a break down in communications with new man Yuvraj.

George Dockrell
George Dockrell removed Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Dhoni

At 100-4 it was not quite crisis time for India, but for the next hour they could not afford any more sloppy dismissals - leading to a patient partnership between Yuvraj and Dhoni.

Finally, Dockrell won a second successful lbw appeal, this time against Dhoni, but India had moved to within 41 runs from victory - and Yusuf Pathan hit Dockrell for two sixes at the very start of his innings to inject some purpose into the chase.

And after Yuvraj had reached his half-century with a single, Pathan pulled John Mooney away for the winning boundary.

Earlier, India had been no more than adequate with the ball overall - and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (0-56 from eight overs) was a disappointment.

Zaheer Khan took two early wickets but Porterfield and Niall O'Brien (46) added 113 for the third wicket in 24 overs as the partisan crowd looked on impatiently.

Yuvraj finally got them singing and dancing again, even though most of his wickets came as a result of Ireland trying to force the pace rather than being deceived by brilliant bowling.

Nevertheless the slow left-armer was left to reflect on his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs. It included two lbws, a fine catch behind by Dhoni (who had an exceptional day with the gloves), the key wicket of Kevin O'Brien - who just chipped a ball back to the bowler - and the equally crucial dismissal of Porterfield.

The Ireland captain, having played so well for so long, played loosely at a wide, short ball that deserved to go for four and simply hit a catch to Harbhajan Singh in the covers.

Ireland were much better in the second half of the game, and their ground-fielding was exemplary, but they had left themselves with just a little too much to do.

India's win moved them to the top of Group B on net run-rate from England - though they do have a game in hand over Andrew Strauss's men.

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see also
O'Brien can get better - Simmons
06 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Ireland's Andrew White's column
05 Mar 11 |  Ireland
O'Brien full of Irish ambition
03 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Brilliant Ireland shock England
02 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Hero O'Brien hails 'best innings'
02 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Strauss stunned by England defeat
02 Mar 11 |  England
Agnew at the World Cup
02 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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