Bangalore, March 6: Yuvraj Singh notched up the best figures for a left-arm spinner in world cups with 5/31 to help bowl out Ireland for 207 in 47.5 overs. After a poor start, Ireland got in a couple of good partnerships with Niall O'Brien (46) and William Porterfield (75) putting on 113 runs. But then the spin of the south-paw lead to their undoing as Ireland underwent a protracted collapse from the 25th over onward.
As Ireland began their innings, there was drama straight away. In the third ball, William Porterfield edged Zaheer Khan to be put down by Yusuf Pathan at second slip. Then in the very next ball, Zaheer cleaned up Paul Stirling for a golden duck.
Porterfield counter-attacked by cover-driving Munaf Patel for a four, but in the next over Zaheer returned to get Ed Joyce caught behind for 4. Ireland were in trouble at 9/2 in 2.3 overs. Off-spinner Yusuf Pathan then bowled a maiden followed by score-less over from Zaheer.
In an apparent bid to preserve their wickets and also due to some tight bowling from Bhajji and Pathan, Ireland were scoring at just over 3 reaching 51/2 in 15.5 overs. Then Porterfield and O'Brien took 7 runs off a Yusuf Pathan and squeezed 15 runs from Piyush Chawla's first over which included 5 no-balls and a free-hit six from Porterfield.
The batting duo moved into a stronger position, reaching 100 in 23 overs. They then motored along, each taking a four off Pathan. Then Porterfield smacked Chawla for a boundary to notch up his 50 off 67 balls. At the end of 25 overs, Ireland were 118/2.
Then in the 27th over, Niall O'Brien was run out for 46 off 78 balls. His wicket triggered a bit of a middle-order collapse as slow-left-armer Yuvraj Singh had Andrew White caught behind for 5 and the a couple of over later, caught and bowled the dangerous Kevin O'Brien for 9 off 13 as Ireland slumped to 147/5.
Then Alex Cusack and Porterfield took their side to 150 in the 35th over. Chawla continued to be expensive, going for 9 runs in the 37th over. But the Irish captain was the next to depart when in the following over, he was caught by Harbhajan Singh off Yuvraj Singh for 75 off 104. Ireland had lost their sixth wicket for 160.
But Yuvraj wasn't finished with business. In the 41st and 43rd over, he effected a strike each. He first removed John Mooney for 5 by trapping him in front before doing the same to Alex Cusack for 24. With that last scalp, Yuvraj had picked up his 5th wicket of the innings and Ireland were 184/8 in 43.4 overs.
Then George Dockrell and Trent Johnston took Ireland past 200 in the 47th over with the latter striking two fours. But almost immediately, Zaheer had Dockrell caught behind for 3. Then Munaf Patel wrapped up the innings for 207 in 47.5 overs when he got Johnston lbw for 17 off 20 overs.