IRELAND will head to Zimbabwe next month for a last chance at qualifying for this autumn’s World Cup after seeing their faint hopes of finishing eighth in the Super League washed away in Chelmsford last night.
The Boys in Green needed to beat a strong Bangladesh side 3-0 and massively improve their run-rate to finish above South Africa on the Super League ladder but were unable to beat the rain in the first of three one-day internationals.
Josh Little and fellow seamers Mark Adair and Graham Hume had taken advantage of a responsive pitch to restrict the visitors to 246-9 from 50 overs and Ireland were handily placed of 65-3 in the 17th when the match was abandoned.
Little, who has interrupted his lucrative spell with Gujarat Titans in the IPL to spearhead the attack, grabbed an lbw with the game’s fourth ball, thanks to an inswinging yorker, and added two more victims late on for figures of 3-61.
Adair (2-44) also struck early when Bangladesh skipper Tamim Iqbal chased a wide one and offered keeper Lorcan Tucker the first of three catches - the second being a spectacular one-handed take in front of slip - while Hume (2-32) was the most consistent of the trio.
When Ireland look back on a Super League campaign that delivered victories over England, the Netherlands, West Indies, South Africa and Zimbabwe, they will know they should have already booked their World Cup passage to India.
Two defeats by New Zealand from winning positions at Malahide last year and a 2-1 series loss in the Netherlands will haunt the Boys in Green should they fail to finish in the top two of what promises to be a devilishly tough qualifier in Zimbabwe.