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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Still all to play for despite loss against India

Ireland captain William Porterfield drew consolation from posting the highest total against defending champions India in the cricket World Cup so far despite a crushing defeat today at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

India overhauled Ireland's 259 all out in their Pool B match at Seddon Park for the lost of only two wickets in the 37th over. The Irish must win their final match against Pakistan in Adelaide on Sunday to clinch a place in the quarter-finals ahead of West Indies.

"We have been confident with the bat throughout," said Porterfield, who scored 67 and shared an opening partnership of 89 with Paul Stirling (42).

"We played very well for long periods of that game today. But it just shows how ruthless you have to be the way India batted there.

"You have to kick on and score hundreds. We had a couple of 60s and 70s there. But we've chased down 300 and we've set 330 when we batted first."

Porterfield said Ireland had lost a couple of quick wickets and then managed to lose a wicket every time they picked up momentum.

"We could probably have put them under a bit of pressure but we didn't want to go too hard too soon especially after losing those couple of wickets.

"We just lost those wickets at crucial times and it slowed us down. We didn't kick on as much as we would have liked but you have to give them credit as well," he said.

Porterfield said the team would "hone up" on Adelaide in the next couple of days.

"We will have everything behind the scenes ready," he said.

Shikhar Dhawan led India's run chase with an 85-ball 100, while his opening partner Rohit Sharma made 64. Virat Kohli (44 not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (33no) then saw their side to a ninth successive World Cup win.

Niall O'Brien top-scored for Ireland with 75, with useful contributions too from openers Porterfield (67) and Paul Stirling (42) en route to a respectable total but India were not to be outdone.

Ireland came into the game needing victory against either India or Pakistan to advance, and looked well set after captain Porterfield opted to bat first and went on to share a solid partnership of 89 with Stirling first up.

Their stand was broken in disappointing style from the final ball of the 15th over, when Stirling, having made his runs off 41 balls including four fours and two sixes, looked for a big hit off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin but succeeded only in scooping a simple catch to Rahane at long-off.

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Ed Joyce did not stick around for long, contributing just two before having his middle stump knocked over by Suresh Raina.

Porterfield, having notched his first half-century of the tournament, in the 32nd over chipped a straightforward catch to Umesh Yadav at mid-off, Mohit Sharma the bowler. Andy Balbirnie joined Niall O'Brien in the middle and contributed a run-a-ball 24 before looking for one sweep too many and top-edging Ashwin to Mohammed Shami.

That left Ireland still reasonably well placed on 206 for four with 11 overs remaining, but from then on the wickets tumbled.

Kevin O'Brien (one), Gary Wilson (six), Stuart Thompson (two) and George Dockrell (six) all came and went, with Niall O'Brien's dismissal also thrown into the mix making for a spell of five wickets for just 32 runs as India seized control.

John Mooney (12 not out) and Alex Cusack (11) added 21 for the final wicket before the latter's departure signalled the end of the Ireland innings.

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