/ Cricket

Perfect send off for Trent Johnston as Ireland beat Afghanistan to win ICC Intercontinental Cup

Updated: Friday, 13 Dec 2013 14:15 | Comments

Max Sorenson claimed the decisive wicket for Ireland
Max Sorenson claimed the decisive wicket for Ireland

Audio

Ireland lifted the Intercontinental Cup for the fourth time today as Trent Johnston's career in the green shirt came to a fitting end with a 122-run victory over Afghanistan in Dubai.

Victory also meant Ireland became the ICC’s first Member to win three ICC events of three different formats in a season.

William Porterfield’s side had earlier won the 50-over Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) in July and then retained the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier title in the UAE in November.

While all eyes were on Johnston going into the game, an Achilles injury meant he was forced to watch from the sidelines on the final day.

However, it was to be his Leinster Lightning team-mate John Mooney who grabbed the headlines – Mooney proving his worth to captain Porterfield by claiming five second innings wickets, giving him ten in the match.

Ireland's decisive second innings display meant that the Afghans needed an unlikely 347 to snatch the trophy away and at 136 for 5 overnight it looked a forlorn hope. 

The not-out batsmen, Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi did not see it that way though and on the restart this morning they gave Ireland plenty to think about.

Time was not an issue with two full days to play and both men made the bowlers work hard in the opening exchanges. Worryingly for Porterfield the pair batted relatively untroubled through the morning session and into the afternoon taking Afghanistan’s reply to 199, with a partnership worth 114. 

However, the new ball proved decisive, and their stubborn resistance was ended when Max Sorensen took the new ball and trapped Nabi leg before for a very patient 49 (7 fours, 174 balls).

After that it appeared the end was nigh and despite Shah's individual defiance, Phil Simmons' charges moved in for the kill. 

The Afghanistan batsman was left stranded on 86 not out (12 fours) as Mooney returned to the attack to rip out the last four wickets for the addition of 25 runs.

The final margin of victory was 122 runs and while this was very much a team effort over the four days, few would begrudge Mooney the plaudits he deserved.

The North County all-rounder has struggled to find his best form at times this year and endured a frustrating 18 months with injuries, but his commitment to Ireland's cause has never been in doubt and his efforts here made the man-of-the-match decision a straightforward one.

Fittingly, however, the last word was left to Johnston as skipper Porterfield stepped aside to let his colleague pick up the trophy, and his fourth winners medal in this competition. 

If ever a man has epitomised the efforts required at this level it is Johnston and although it has been said many times before, his will be huge boots to fill.

Scores in brief:

Ireland 187 all out and 341 all out (95.1 overs, Niall O'Brien 87, Ed Joyce 78, Kevin O'Brien 47, Andrew White 39, William Porterfield 34, Trent Johnston 31, Mohammed Nabi 4-38, Rehmat Shah 2-58, Mirwais Ashraf 2-63, Dawlat Zadran 2-110) 

Afghanistan 182 all out and 224 all out (94.5 overs, Rehmat Shah 86*, Mohammed Nabi 49, Mohammad Shehzad 39, John Mooney 5-36,  George Dockrell 3-58)

Ireland win by 122 runs

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use