It was a familiar tale in the World Cup Super League at Chelmsford yesterday as Ireland threw away a seemingly impregnable position to lose a last-over thriller to Bangladesh by five runs, and with it the series 2-0.
A tight display in the field dismissed the visitors for 274 and half-centuries from Paul Stirling and skipper Andy Balbirnie had set up what should have been Ireland’s seventh Super League win.
When Bangladesh turned to their sixth bowler, part-time spinner Najmul Shanto, the Boys in Green needed 52 from nine overs, with seven wickets in hand, and Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker batting supremely.
In-form Tector then failed to clear wide long on for what would have been his third six and fell to a diving catch for 45 - his 16th score of 25 plus in 18 ODI innings - Curtis Campher skied to mid-off and George Dockrell smashed a catch low to extra cover.
Tucker, who reached his half-century from 51 balls, was bowled attempting a scoop, as was Mark Adair after a rapid 20 from 10 balls had raised hopes, and 10 runs from the final five was too much for the tail as the innings ended on 269-9.
“As batters we must do better,” Balbirnie said. “One of us should have seen it home. We were in control for large parts and it is again frustrating not to get over the line.
“We lost wickets in clusters at the back end and that’s what can happen in this game.“
Adair returned the best figures of the Ireland bowlers with 4-40, making the breakthrough in his second over, and returning to mop up the tail as Bangladesh contrived to lose their last five wickets for 14 runs when a total in excess of 300 looked likely.
The renaissance of George Dockrell’s left-arm spin continued with two wickets from nine tidy overs and Craig Young also had reason to be satisfied with his 10 overs in his first ODI since picking up a long-term injury last summer.
The big man from Co Tyrone leapt for joy when Andy Balbirnie held a tumbling catch at second slip to give him one wicket but there was no joy for Josh Little - and no luck either - as he prepared to return to the IPL.
Ireland will finish 11th on the Super League ladder, ahead of Zimbabwe and the Netherlands but behind the West Indies and Sri Lanka, four of the sides they will meet in June and July to decide the final two places in World Cup line-up.
That tournament in Zimbabwe should be a cracker.