Over-by-over report: Sri Lanka v Ireland
Preamble: Good afternoon and welcome to the big one. So far Ireland have made the most spectacular debut since Ben Fogle stepped up nervelessly to the helm of Animal Park - the man was born to present. And before this tournament most people (myself included) would have said that Ireland were born to be patronised with craic and Guinness references before being bundled our at the group stages after a couple of plucky performances. But these are strange times we live in and Ireland find themselves in the position where they can could, could overhaul England with a big win here and a heavy defeat for England against the Windies. Alternatively, if they lose this they could end up finishing bottom of the Super Eights, all of which just about saves this from being the only rubber more redundant than the one at the bottom of Cliff Richard's sock drawer.
What's been the secret of Ireland's success? Well they've done the basics to the best of their ability - in the games they've done well in they've had a batsman who's hung around (Bray against Zimbabwe, Porterfield against Bangladesh and Niall O'Brien against Pakistan), tight bowling (Botha has been particularly stingy) and lively fielding. One of the most encouraging things for the future is that Ireland are a young team - the older players, such as Trent Johnston and Andre Botha, are foreign-born guys who have given the Irish-born talent a guiding hand before bowing out in the near future. Ireland's South African coach Adrian Birrell will be overseeing his final game in charge today, so he'll want to go out on a high too.
About last night ... And if you want to gag over the rotting corpse of English cricket, I suppose that's OK. Send your venom this way. Or alternatively, are there any positives we can take out of the debacle? At least we won't be seeing Michael "26.43" Vaughan near an ODI again.
And Sri Lanka are playing too It'll be interesting to see how Sri Lanka approach the game today, they were content to rest a few players against the Aussies, so it looks like they're winding down before their semi-finals. Unless they see this for a few batsmen to get their eye in.
A toss Sri Lanka win it and they've put Ireland into bat, Johnston doesn't look too fussed and said he'd have batted anyway. Murali and Vaas are back in for Sri Lanka, but Malinga and his slingy delights still haven't recovered sufficiently for a start so he'll sit it one out again. Here's Jeff Ando; "Re: not seeing Vaughan ODI 26.43 again, are you sure? He sounds worryingly determined to carry on, as though having missed out on so much cricket due to injury he is hellbent to playing no matter how unsuited he is to the format. The cowardly suits at the top seem happy to let him do what he wants." Nah, he'll be gone soon Jeff, the knives being prepared for him are sharper than Rob Smyth's wit.
The secret of Ireland's success, part two. Starring KP and Ed Joyce "Tom, you think Ireland did better than expected because they felt proud and privileged to be there, whereas the English players gave the impression that they didn't care either way. One way or another I'm very proud of the Irish lads (whether they were born here or are our Joyces and Pietersens!)," trumpets Declan Keane. I think England did care about the World Cup, the problem was that a lot of them cared to the point where they looked paralysed with fear. Witness the first ten overs of yesterday's game, the England batsmen weren't thinking about winning a game, they were too busy thinking about not getting out.
"Afternoon Tom," writes Andy Bradshaw. "The knives being prepared for him are sharper than Rob Smyth's wit" Why are they going to bludgeon him to death?" I set 'em up, you put 'em away Andy. What a team.
1st over Ireland (Bray 0 Porterfield 0 )
2nd over Ireland 0-0 (Bray 0 Porterfield 0 )
3nd over Ireland 0-0 (Bray 1 Porterfield 3 )
4th over Ireland 5-0 (Bray 1 Porterfield 4 )
5th over Ireland 11-0 (Bray 6 Porterfield 5)
6th over Ireland 16-0 (Bray 10 Porterfield 5)
7th over Ireland 18-0 (Bray 10 Porterfield 6)
WICKET! Bray 22 b Maharoof c Arnold Ireland 28-1 Maharoof , who has been going for around five an over this World Cup, is on and Bray tucks in, with two consecutive fours. Then he spoons it up and Arnold tumbles to take the catch in the covers. "You are behind the times, mate," says the matey Richard O'Hagan. "Lauren quit XFM on Monday. Apparently she has 'major TV projects' which she cannot give up. Nothing to do with her falling ratings, then." Or the ghost of Tweedy breathing down her neck.
WICKET! Botha 0 b Maharoof c Sangakkarra Ireland 28-2
WICKET! Morgan 0 c Sangakkarra b Maharoof (Ireland 28-3)
9th over Ireland 34-3
10th over Ireland 34-3 (Porterfield 10 N O'Brien 1)
11th over Ireland 37-3 (Porterfield 13 N O'Brien 1)
12th over Ireland 38-3 (Porterfield 14 N O'Brien 1)
13th over Ireland 39-3 (Porterfield 15 N O'Brien 1)
14th over Ireland 42-3 (Porterfield 16 N O'Brien 2)
15th over Ireland 42-3 (Porterfield 16 N O'Brien 2)
16th over Ireland 44-3 (Porterfield 16 N O'Brien 3)
17th over Ireland 44-3 (Porterfield 16 N O'Brien 3)
18th over WICKET! Porterfield 17 c Jayasuriya b Maharoof (Ireland 46-4)
WICKET! N O'Brien 4 c Sangakkarra b Muralitharan (Ireland 45-5 )
19th over WICKET! Carroll 0 b Muralitharan (Ireland 45-6) Kenny Carroll's World Cup career lasts all of two balls. Murali beats him all ends up and he's clean bowled. Still, he got a holiday out of the whole deal, so who's complaining?
WICKET! Johnston 0 run out (Ireland 49-7) (K O'Brien 2 Johnston 0) Trent Johnston is in, he's got a pretty decent strike rate - 92.14 in the tournament, but he'll need to make like a strict nanny and start smacking if Ireland are to achieve anything. Having said that Maharoof swoops to run Johnston out brilliantly. It's all gone a bit England.
WICKET! K O'Brien 2 c Jayasuriya b Muralitharan (Ireland 49-8)Yup, you guessed it. O'Brien doesn't get hold of a Murali delivery and Jayasuriya is there to finish things off at mid-on.
21st over Ireland 53-8 (McCallan 0 Langford Smith 4)
22nd over Ireland 53-8 (McCallan 0 Langford Smith 4)
23rd over WICKET! McCallan 0 b Murali lbw (Ireland 54-9) Murali nearly gets Langford Smith as he hoiks him to Maharoof who drops it. Murali then gets McCallan as plumb as you like and that is out. This cracker comes from Craig Robertson. "Here was I wondering how many of this Irish team were qualified to play for England any time soon. Judging by the way they are batting today, the answer is obvious - all of them."
24th over Ireland 63-9 (Langford Smith 12 Rankin 2) Ireland were actually well set at one point, Langford Smith tries to salavage a bit of pride with a huge six that lands somewhere in upstate Florida. "All of a sudden I find myself having a change of heart," mumbles Diarmuid Murphy. "Let's forget about commenting on Ireland, just post the scores/wickets every now and then and let the English-bashing begin!" Not sure if we've got time, Diarmuid.
25th over Ireland 69-9 (Langford Smith 17 Rankin 2) Langford Smith looks to go on the attack again and is this close to being stumped, but just about gets his bat down in time, so the agony can continue a bit longer. And it was a wide! What's not to like? How about this? Langford Smith goes after Murali again and smacks him for four. He might as well go for it now.
26th over Ireland 70-9 (Langford Smith 17 Rankin 2) Ireland have made it past the halfway stage, which is something, I suppose. Maharoof sends down an over that's tidier than the average village green and there's just a leg bye off that one. "Once upon a time I was friendly with a record producer named Pete Smith," says Richard O'Hagan. "He produced the Mock Turtles' one hit, 'Can You Dig It'. Years later, he was surprised to pick up my copy of said meisterwerk and discover that Coogan had blagged himself a co-production credit. Which makes you wonder just how much work he does on his radio show." Not much, I imagine.
27th over Ireland 76-9 (Langford Smith 18 Rankin 6) Langford Smith is up to his highest ever ODI score, but that's not saying too much. Rankin follows his lead and sends it down to long-on for four, you won't see a crack bigger than that this side of a builder's bum.
WICKET! Langford Smith 18 b Vaas lbw Ireland 77 all out Vaas is still wicketless and he's back into the attack, and it's not long before he gets his first scalp - Langford Smith falls to a slowish full toss that fools him and would have hit middle stump. "Like Diarmuid Murphy, I'm not bitter," announces a chipper Craig Robertson. "Is there any chance Sri Lanka could knock these runs off slowly enough that the failings of the England side could be fully discussed? Timeless Test anyone?"
Oh. That was the sixth lowest total in World Cup history and Ireland just couldn't figure Murali out. It's a shame Ireland's last innings ended like that after a solid campaign. Maharoof's wickets were key too, but he bowled decently at best - some of the batting was as shaky as Rob Smyth after a four-day Relentless bender.
1st over WICKET! Tharanga 0 c Porterfield b Rankin (Ireland 1-1) Sri Lanka have to whistle along at 1.6 an over, if they want to win this one. I reckon they'll go at around 10 times that rate and we'll be done in time for the end of Neighbours. Rankin doesn't make the best of starts with a no ball before beating Thranga with a tasty shorter ball and Sri Lanka are falling hopelessly short of what they need. Pah! But what's this? Tharanga goes after a wide one and steers it to Porterfield at point. Double pah! "Best breakfast radio show? Easy, Shaun Keaveney on BBC Radio 6," reckons Scott Beattie. "He was great on XFM and does the same here. Only problem is it is digital only ... If only he'd hung around at XFM for a couple more months he could have had the breakfast show there rather than Paul Tonkinson who I can't stand."
2nd over Sri Lanka 11-1 (Jayasuriya 2 Sangakkara 6) Langford Smith bounds in after his batting cameo, but Sangkarra relieves the tension with a leg-side four. "The BBC commentator seems to be after people to go boozing with - why not take the OBO gang out and have a commentators knees up. You could then listen to a smashed Smyth telling you how much he loves Scarlett Johansson," says Anton Lawrence. Nah, he doesn't need to be smashed to slobber over Johansson, it's all about Carol Vorderman when he's had a few drinks.
3rd over Sri Lanka 24-1 (Jayasuriya 8 Sangakkara 10) Rankin's got 12 wickets in this World Cup (in fact in all his World Cups) and has been the pick of Ireland's bowlers, along with Botha's miserly spells. He can be a bit wayward though and sends down three wides in the over - Sri Lanka don't need any help. Jayasuriya then uses a good bit of bounce to lift it for an off-side six. "I disagree with Scott Beattie. Shaun Keaveny was an utter narcissist on XFM, which is really annoying at 7.30am and used to make me leap out of bed shouting at the radio," says Richard O'Hagan. "Tonks is fine at that time, because he is so dull you fall asleep again. I accept that my employers may have an alternative take on this, though."
WICKET! Sangakkara 10 b Langford Smith c Carroll (Sri Lanka 24-2) Hoo hoo! Maybe there's life in this one! Carroll has never missed a catch in the World Cup and makes no mistake there.
4th over Sri Lanka 31-2 (Jayasuriya 13 Jayawardene 1 ) Jayasuriya has had enough of all this fightback nonsense and dispatches Langford Smith to the covers.
5th over Sri Lanka 41-2 (Jayasuriya 17 Jayawardene 5) Shot! Jayawardene smacks Rankin for four, just like Rick Waller looking for a bit of action, that was a meaty pull. Jayawardene then takes a quick single, and nearly gets run out, but the TV umpire says nope. This, England, is how to start an innings (apart from the wickets obviously). "To belatedly respond to Matthew Rushworth's comment in over 16, surely the most depressing thing about this World Cup has been the fact that the Guardian's Saj Mahmood's bowling hasn't stood out as unspeakably awful (which it undoubtedly was)," reckons William Andrews. "With the honourable exceptions of Bond, Vaas, Murali, Malinga and Bracken (maybe), the standard has been terrible. Even Pollock has looked like Martin Bicknell circa 2005. England's true distinction in this tournament was to drag the art of batting back into the gut-wrenching awfulness of the mid-1980s."
6th over Sri Lanka 53-2 (Jayasuriya 18 Jayawardene 16) Jayawardene gets after Rankin and loops it up, Mooney the sub should have taken it, but it races it away for four. If he'd held that Sri Lanka would have been 49-3 and given Ireland a minuscule chance. "The best breakfast show currently is DJ Rachel on . She plays Big Black and Jesus Lizard to wake up Seattle ... although I suppose in UK time it is technically an afternoon show," suggests Adam Aldridge. Big Black! Surely Steve Albini's finest hour.
7th over Sri Lanka 65-2 (Jayasuriya 20 Jayawardene 26) Ireland have got slips up, but the Sri Lankans are hitting it where the Irish aren't - namely the boundary. Jayawardene then pulls it for a six that nearly leaves the stadium. It may not be pretty for Ireland, but it's thrilling power hitting for the rest of us.
8th over Sri Lanka 69-2 (Jayasuriya 20 Jayawardene 31) Jayawardene sweeps Botha, who has been brought in to tighten things up, for four. Just like a Dog Petters Anonymous meeting, there's some extravagant stroking going on here. "William Andrews (5th over) clearly didn't watch much cricket in the mid 80s," cries Andrew Taylor. "I would happily see the gut wrenchingly awful 1985 David Gower in the current England side."
9th over Sri Lanka 73-2 (Jayasuriya 24 Jayawardene 31) Kevin O'Brien is the latest shuffle in Ireland's bowling attack and sends down a decent first delivery that Jayasuriya blocks out. Rankin makes sure the next delivery is a dot ball too with a handy bit of fielding, diving to his right at mid-off. In fact, it's a full four balls before Jayasuriya gets his first boundary of the over.
10th over Sri Lanka 81-2 (Jayasuriya 24 Jayawardene 39) Sri Lanka win by eight wickets Carroll gets a bowl too, it's his first game of the World Cup so he might as well have a go. Of course, there's reasons why he hasn't played yet and Jayawardene smashes his first ball for four through mid-wicket. Jayawardene then swipes him for four again and that's game over. And here's William Andrews for one last swipe of his own. "Response to Andrew Taylor (over 8): what about the sublime stroke-making of Tim Robinson at the top of the order? Or, for that matter, Les Taylor's devastating reverse swing to mop up the tail? No, thought not."
A pretty easy win for Sri Lanka then, and they go into the semi-finals on a high. Maharoof will have got confidence from his haul and Murali proved as deadly as ever. Ireland, go out fairly shabbily, but that shouldn't detract from a great World Cup. Thanks for the emails.