March 15, 2011
Plucky Irish just miss another cricket upset
By NORMAN DA COSTA , QMI Agency
The Irish bowled over the fans at the World Cup with their trademark enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude.
But the team that attracted fans like those moths swarming around the lights at the tournament saw its dream of making it into the quarter-finals shattered Tuesday by South Africa at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, one of the most famous cricketing venues in the world.
As one would expect, the Irish did not go down without a fight, although it lost by a whopping 131 runs. After thrashing England earlier, the Irish looked on course to upstage one of the tournament favourites, holding South Africa to 117 for five at one stage. But J.P. Duminy, with a sensible 99, and Colin Ingram, 46, rescued the South Africans with a sixth-wicket stand of 87 to score 272 for seven.
Ireland had no answer for the pace generated by Morne Morkel (three or 33) and Jacques Kallis (two for 20) and spinner Robin Peterson chipped in with three for 32.
With the win, South Africa becomes the first team from Group B to qualify for the quarterfinals. That leaves India, Bangladesh, West Indies and England battling for the other three positions. Although Ireland has one more game left against the Netherlands, one can expect the players and fans to get an early start on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday.
After all, most of the players felt they had already won the World Cup after defeating their old enemy England. That loss could come back to haunt England and, who knows, the English and the Irish could be together on the same flight home.