Mirpur, Feb 25: Bangladesh suffered a mighty scare before snatching a 27-run victory over a fighting Ireland in a group B match to bring their World Cup campaign back on track here today.
A tremendous display of swing bowling from Shafiul Islam who picked up four for 21 from his eight overs helped Bangladesh scrap past Ireland with five overs to spare amidst a sell-out crowd at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Shafiul, in a late spell, took the wickets of Kevin O'Brien (37), Andre Botha (22), Trent Johnston (6) and the last wicket of Boyd Ranking (3) to help Bangladesh avenge their previous two losses to Ireland.
Shakib Al Hasan and Bangladesh's surprise package Mohammad Ashraful took two wickets each while Naeem Islam and Abdur Razzak picked up one each to help the team cause after their opening match defeat against India.
The victory means Bangladesh would join India in the top of Group B with a single victory as they approach their March 4 encounter against West Indies with a buoyant mood.
Electing to bat, Bangladesh found the going tough against Ireland as the European team bundled out the test playing nation for 205 in 49.2 overs.
However, the tigers returned with a clinical bowling performance to bowl out the Irish team at 178 with five overs to spare.
Chasing 206 to win, the Irish, who had beaten Bangladesh in the 2007 edition of the World Cup, were caught in the web of quality spin bowling and kept losing wicket at regular intervals.
Aware the Ireland team's vulnerability to quality spin bowling, Bangladesh skipper Shakib introduced a pace-spin attack right from the start and it reaped dividends with Razzaq removing opener Paul Stirling on his third over.
William Porterfield (20), Ed Joyce (16), Niall O'Brien (38) and Andrew White (10) -- all got starts but couldn't prolong their innings in the face of quality bowling.
However, Ireland still looked to be in the hunt when the O'Brien brothers -- Naill (38) and Kevin (37) -- were batting but once they were dismissed, things were all but over for the minnows.
Kevin kept them in hunt till the 37th over, adding 41 runs with Andre Botha (22). But pacer Shafiul Islam's late four-wicket haul put paid to Ireland's hopes.
Earlier, Bangladesh's batsmen failed to build partnerships with Tamim Iqbal (44), Mushfiqur Rahim (36) and Raqibul Hasan (38) being the only noteworthy contributers to the total.
To Bangladesh's embarrassment, the team did not even last the full 50 overs and folded up in 49.2 overs.
The Irish had got the better of Bangladesh even in the previous edition of the World Cup and had the upperhand for most of the first half of the crunch game a loss in which would severely jeopardise the co-hosts' chances of advancing to the quarterfinals.
It was a fantastic start to the proceedings for the hosts after winning the toss as they raced to their 50 in just 5.4 overs.
But the slide was not too far either and it started with opener Imrul Kayes (12) being sent back by pacer John Mooney in the seventh over.
Next man in, Junaid Siddique, didn't last long either and was run out by Ed Joyce after contributing just three runs to the total.
Three overs after Siddique's dismissal, Bangladesh were dealt a massive blow when Tamim was dismissed by Andre Botha.
After striking seven boundaries in his 43-ball knock, Tamim drove Botha outside off stump only to be caught by Irish skipper William Porterfield at point, leaving the packed crowd stunned in silence.
With skipper Shakib Al Hasan also making a hasty exit after contributing 16 runs, Bangladesh were in dire straits at 86/4 in just the 16th over.
But Rahim and Raqibul got together to put on 61 runs for the fifth wicket and steady the rocking boat, albeit temporarily.
Their partnership was broken when Rahim's attempted sweep off 18-year-old spinner George Dockrell landed straight into the hands of Andrew White.
His dismissal triggered another collapse with senior batsman and former captain Mohammad Ashraful (1), who was brought back into the side to strengthen the faltering line-up, coming a cropper lasting just one over.
Given the top-order collapse, the tail could not do much either save for Naeem Islam, who added 29 vital runs to the score including three boundaries.
For Ireland, Botha picked up three wickets, conceding just 32 runs in his nine runs, while Dockrell clinched a couple of scalps in his 10 overs during which he gave only 23 runs. PTI