Porterfield and McBrine help Ireland make winning start to World Cup qualifying.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Porterfield and McBrine help Ireland make winning start to World Cup qualifying. thumbnail William Porterfield and Andrew McBrine helped Ireland make a winning start to their World Cup qualifying campaign in Zimbabwe.

IRELAND have made a winning start in the World Cup Qualifier series with two wins from two in Group A rivals in Zimbabwe.

Ireland made a winning start to the tournament with a 93-run victory over Netherlands in their opening group game on Sunday before recording a four-wicket victory against Papua New Guinea in Harare.

Team captain and Donemana native William Porterfield's 111 was the pillar of his side's reply as Ireland passed their target with just five balls to spare.

PNG opener Tony Ura had scored a superb 151 but was given little support as the Barramundis posted a total of 235 runs After winning the toss, Porterfield asked PNG to bat first at the Harare Sports Club and his decision was quickly rewarded as opener Vani Morea was run out in the second over, and Donemana man Andy McBrine took three early wickets.

Ura continued to score as easily as the Irish bowlers were able to dismiss his batting partners and the opener struck 10 fours and six sixes before he was eventually dismissed by Kevin O'Brien in the final over.

Porterfield led the Irish response with his own century knock and received support from opening partner Paul Stirling, who scored 27, and a half century by Ed Joyce.

The departure of Porterfield, followed quickly by Kevin O'Brien, left Ireland on 216-6 in the 45th over and still requiring 20 runs to win but Gary Wilson and George Dockrell combined to steer their side to victory.

Porterfield was again to the fore in Sunday's opening day win over Netherlands contributed 47 to a 268-7 total, with Andrew Balbirnie's 68 and Niall O'Brien's 49 also helping to lay the foundations for the victory.

A rain delay left the Dutch with a revised target of 243 from 41 overs.

Netherlands were easily dismissed for 149 in 32.3 overs with Scott Edwards top scoring on 26 while Tim Murtagh took 3-28 and Bready man Boyd Rankin 2-19.

Timm van der Gugten was the best of the Dutch bowlers with 3-59 but Ireland made steady progress including a 101-run partnership between Balbirnie and Niall O'Brien.

Speaking after the game, Porterfield said: "We think 250 on that pitch would have been a par score, so to get above that we were happy. It was always going to rain today according to the forecast, and we had a look at the conditions and then we'd bowl first if we had the choice."

Ireland will next face Group A's top seeds West Indies on Saturday, March 10, and finally UAE on the Monday (12th).


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