Ireland tri-nation series 2019 review: Plenty of positives for Bangladesh, some concerns for West Indies
A late burst of power hitting from Bangladesh's Mosaddek Hossain saw them win the tri-series final against West Indies, their first ever win in an ODI tournament final.
The tournament was a good warm-up for Bangladesh, who used the opportunity to continue fine-tuning their performances with an eye on the upcoming World Cup. The performances of Soumya Sarkar, Mossadek Hossain and Liton Das will give them some confidence, while the bowling will welcome Mustafizur Rahman's return to form.
West Indies used the tournament to test their bench strength, and will be heartened by the performances of John Campbell and Roston Chase in that aspect. However, they would be concerned about their bowling, especially as it (potentially) cost them a series win.
Ireland welcomed the opportunity to play against fellow full member nations and will be heartened by the individual performances of Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie. But the fact that players aren't stepping up to take over from the likes of William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin, and Kevin O'Brien remains a worry.
Performances from different players a positive for Bangladesh
The performances of Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Mossadek Hossain are a big positive for Bangladesh, who have often found themselves reliant on the performances of the senior core of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Mashrafe Mortaza.
Liton Das scored 76 in the only match that he batted, while Soumya Sarkar scored 193 runs in the three innings that he batted in as opening batsman, potentially solving the long-term concern of identifying a batting partner for Tamim Iqbal.
Shakib's two half-centuries in three innings saw him playing the role of anchor, and his bowling in tandem with Mehidy Hasan Miraz suffocated batsmen during the middle overs. But Shakib's injury concerns (side strain and back spasms) are something that need to be carefully managed.
Mustafizur Rahman's return to form with 6 wickets alongside Abu Jayed's 5 wickets were the other positives for Bangladesh, alongside Mohammad Saifuddin's 4 wickets and Mehidy's 3.
Winning an ODI series final for the first time will also have given Bangladesh a confidence boost ahead of the World Cup. They will go into that tournament with some assurance over their ideal combination.
West Indies's bench strength was their biggest positive
The performances of Sunil Ambris (278 runs in 4 innings), Roston Chase (1 half-century and an economy rate of 5.72) and John Campbell's 172 in his only match will have given West Indies confidence in their bench strength.
Shai Hope's 470 runs in 5 innings - with 2 centuries and 2 half-centuries - was indicative of a player in good form. His partnership with Campbell worth 365 runs saw them set a world record for the highest opening partnership in ODI cricket.
All-rounders Jason Holder and Roston Chase were the only batsmen apart from Ambris, Hope and Campbell with a score over 50.
Shannon Gabriel and Ashley Nurse led the bowling with 8 and 7 wickets respectively, but the bowling of Holder, Sheldon Cottrell and Kemar Roach was a sore point. Holder and Cottrell collectively took 4 wickets while Roach managed only 3.
While West Indies will find their batting strength significantly improved by the performances of Hope and the bench strength, their bowling is something that needs to improve quickly if they hope to do well at the World Cup.
The next generation of Irish players need to step up
With Ireland not participating in this year's World Cup following the reduction to 10 teams, this series was an opportunity for them to play against fellow full member nations and test their bench strength.
Paul Stirling impressed with 207 runs from 3 innings, including 1 century and 1 half-century. Andy Balbirnie also impressed with 1 century, while Kevin O' Brien managed 3 half-centuries and William Porterfield 1 half-century.
Boyd Rankin led the bowling with 5 wickets, followed by Barry McCarthy with 3 wickets. George Dockrell did not take a single wicket.
Barring Stirling and Balbirnie, the players mentioned are above 33 years of age and have constantly performed for Ireland since their maiden World Cup appearance in 2007.
That younger players haven't emerged to take over from them is concerning for Ireland in the long-term. However, the performances of Stirling and Balbirnie, and the potential of Dockrell, all-rounder Mark Adair and pace bowler Josh Little give Ireland some hope for the future.