Cork County all-rounder Aaron Cawley took a wicket in each of his first two overs as Ireland went down by 7 wickets to Sri Lanka in their group match opener at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand on Saturday night.
Jamie Grassi’s 115-ball 75 and some late big-hitting from Josh Little and Aaron Cawley took Ireland past 200. When the same Cawley took two early wickets, the scent of victory was very much alive.
Ireland skipper Harry Tector won the toss and elected to bat, seeking to post a total that would put scoreboard pressure on the Sri Lankan chase. Despite an opening stand of 73 between Grassi and Mark Donegan (36), it took an 8th wicket stand of 34 between Little (25) and Cawley (9) to take Ireland to 206/8 off their 48 overs. The match was reduced to 48 overs a side after an hour’s play was lost to an early morning shower in Whangarei.
Ireland had the dream start in the field as Cork County’s Cawley took a wicket in each of his first two overs. In tandem with Little, Sri Lanka were in a little trouble at 16/2 off 6 overs. When Max Neville took a wicket of his own to reduce the Sri Lankans to 51/3, Ireland were well and truly in the game.
Speaking to ICC.com captain Harry Tector agreed. “We set a good platform, Mark Donegan and Jamie Grassi batted well up top, but we were unable to sort of kick on and get that big score to really put them under considerable pressure. And then we had them 9/2 and 51/3 and we were very much in the game.”
Sadly that was when Dhananjaya Lakshan and the captain Kamindu Mendis took over and brought the game away. Their unbeaten partnership of 157 saw Lakshan score a century and win Player of the Match before Mendis hit the winning runs.
As ever the Irish squad demonstrated their fight and spirit to continue battling in the field to the last.
Pakistan on Tuesday January 16th at 10.30am. (9.30pm on Monday January 15th Irish time)
Ireland v Sri Lanka, U19 World Cup Group D
Cobham Oval, Whangarei, New Zealand
Ireland 206-8 (48/48 Overs) Jamie Grassi 75, Mark Donegan 36, Josh Little 25; Kamindu Mendis 3-35 lost to Sri Lanka 208-3 (37.3 overs) Dhananjaya Lakshan 101*, Kamindu Mendis 74*; Aaron Cawley 2-26, Max Neville 1-51, Harry Tector 0-40 by 7 wickets.