Porterfield in awe of Irish bowling

ICC World Twenty20 2009

Niall O'Brien

Porterfield was generous in his praise for his opening partner and gloveman Niall O'Brien, who made a fighting 31

Ireland captain Will Porterfield believed his side had dug into their deepest reserves in falling narrowly short of another ICC World Twenty20 shock.

Ireland followed their World Cup exploits of 2007 by eliminating Bangladesh in the group stages of this tournament, but went down by just nine runs to Sri Lanka at Lord's today.

They were contemplating throwing Group F wide open at the half-way stage in their chase of 145, which they reached 60 for one, but the class of Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Lasith Malinga told in the end.

"The lads gave everything," said Porterfield. "That's what I asked for before the game and they left nothing out there.

"We are obviously a bit disappointed we lost the game but if you went around every lad in the changing room and asked them 'could you have given any more?', they couldn't have.

"To restrict a side like Sri Lanka to 140-odd was a fantastic effort.

"I thought we were really good in the field and we batted pretty well before just coming up short in the end."

Although Ireland can still technically progress to the final four by defeating Pakistan heavily and Sri Lanka also beating New Zealand comfortably in the last match, they could have put all four teams level on two points had they triumphed today.

Ireland made a decent start to their chase with Porterfield playing an uncharacteristic dash before edging Murali behind.

Their hopes of victory receded, however, when wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien, who shook off an ankle problem to play in the Super Eights stage and aggravated it in avoiding a run-out, became the third of three wickets in two overs.

Porterfield paid tribute to his hobbling opening partner when he said: "He's a tough character, a great character and just soldiers on.

"It did hamper him a bit but there was no chance of him asking for a runner because he came into the game with the injury.

"He didn't even ask the question, it was never in his head, he just kept going."

Ireland headed into the final five overs needing 54 runs but two wickets in as many balls by paceman Malinga further dented outside hopes.

"If you go into the last few overs needing that many an over it's never going to be easy," Porterfield said. "We lost our way slightly in the middle but don't take anything away from the effort - we did really well."

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