Kolkata, March 15: In the end it was not even a contest between the Irish challengers and the South African top-dogs as the latter reigned supreme in their match at Kolkata's Eden Garden to romp home by 131 runs. Chasing a formidable 272/6, the Irish had no answer to the pace and bounce of Morne Morkel and the spin and guile of Robin Peterson, who ended up taking three wickets each as the Shamrocks crumbled to 141 all out ion 33.2 overs. Most of the Irish batsman got out for scores of between 10 and 20, except Gary Wilson who made 31. With this loss, the Irish are effectively out of contention for a place in quarter-finals, while South Africa have grabbed a berth for themselves.
The Irish would have needed to get a forceful and steady start to their innings, if they were to give themselves any chance of chasing the Proteas' total. Opener William Porterfield had the right idea when he struck paceman Dale Steyn for a four in the first over, but at the end of the very next, Morne Morkel induced him into an edge which flew to slip. Porterfield was out for 6 and Ireland were 8/1.
Then Paul Stirling tried to hit his way out of ill form, knocking off a couple of fours before he guided a Morkel delivery straight to second slip and was on his way for 10 as Ireland slipped to 20/2 in 3.3 overs. Niall O'Brien didn't take much time settling in, but got out in equally quick time when he was caught behind off Kallis for 10 in the 9th over with the score now reading a dismal 35/3.
Gary Wilson and Ed Joyce tried to counter-attack by each slapping a four off Morkel in the next over. But the latter's resolve was shortlived as he was trapped in front by Johan Botha for 12 in the 12th over as Ireland fell deeper into trouble at 51/4.
All hopes of a dramatic turn-around dissolved when Kevin O'Brien (19) and Gary Wilson (31) were dismissed by off-spinner Robin Peterson in the space of three balls in the 22nd over as the Irish slumped to 92/6.
Then Alex Cusack and John Mooney took their side past 100 in the 24th over. But an innings revival was looking progressively bleak, especially when Cusack was sent back by Peterson for 7 in the 26th over and Trent Johnston was caught behind off J P Duminy for 12 in the 30th over. The score was a hopeless 123/8 at that stage.
George Dockrell tried to fight back by biffing a few fours, but in the meantime Mooney (14) was caught behind off Kallis, before in the following over, Dockrell (16) himself perished to Morkel in a similar manner. Ireland were thus all out for a paltry 141 in 33.2 overs (scorecard).