Ireland's World Cup dream dies in last-over defeat

Posted March 24, 2018

Afghanistan, who are coached by the former Ireland boss Phil Simmons, recorded a a five-wicket win over Ireland in the final Super Sixes game of the ICC World Cup qualifiers this afternoon to book their spot in the 10-team global tournament.

In reply, openers Mohammad Shahzad and Gulbadin Naib gave their team a good start with an 86-run stand for the first wicket.

Ireland, electing for bat first, lacked intensity and urgency as they failed to build partnerships and in the end had to be content with 209 for seven in 50 overs.

Kevin O'Brien chipped in with 41 on the slow track at the Harare Sports Club to at least get Ireland past the 200 mark but, despite Niall O'Brien's assertions that the small total was defendable, 209 was never likely to be enough.

And so it proved as Shahzad made the most of a reprieve after Barry McCarthy put down a tough caught-and-bowled chance when the batsman was on five, going on to strike six fours and two maximums.

The shock victory of UAE over Zimbabwe by 3 runs brought a whole lot of context for the last Super Six game between Ireland and Afghanistan.

"The big cheque they're getting (from the World Cup) has to be pushed back down through".

Porterfield has launched a passionate and scathing denunciation of the International Cricket Council (ICC) after his side missed out on a place at the contracted 2019 World Cup.

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It was a long way away, though, when Afghanistan lost its first three games in the tourney. But it advanced on net run rate.

The ICC cut the number of teams competing from 14 at the last tournament to just 10 for next summer's event in England and Wales. Obviously ourselves and Afghanistan got elevated [to Full Member status], which we're grateful for.

Irish bowlers did well to pull back the game after reducing their opposition to 145/4 at one stage but the sensible innings of 39 not out by skipper Asghar Stanikzai and Najibullah Zadran unbeaten 17 helped Afghanistan qualify for the World Cup, said the media reports.

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan thanked his team's supporters after they qualified for the 2019 World Cup after beating Ireland on Friday.

"We have a lot of things on the horizon". For them to progress I think it's going to be harder.

Porterfield added: "I feel sorry for Scotland how it ended for them".

After qualifying for the last three Cricket World Cups, Ireland is out.

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