BARRY McCARTHY put in a strong claim to the third seam bowling slot in Ireland’s attack for the T20 World Cup with a lively four overs yesterday before his side’s historic first appearance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground ended in an 11-run defeat by Namibia.

When injury forced Craig Young to withdraw from the campaign at the weekend, Pembroke all-rounder McCarthy was given the nod ahead of Conor Olphert for the first of two official practice matches and responded with an early wicket and figures of 1-21.

If McCarthy keeps his place for tomorrow’s final warm-up against Sri Lanka at the nearby Junction Oval, it’s hard to see paceman Olphert featuring in the three first-round matches next week, unless the surface in Hobart is much faster than expected.

Curtis Campher offered good support on an early season MCG pitch that favoured medium pace, while Ireland split the fifth bowling duties between spinners Simi Singh and Gareth Delany, who each claimed a wicket before Namibia closed on 138-4.

Paul Stirling, captaining the side in the absence of Andy Balbirnie who was feeling off colour, maneuvered the Boys in Green to a strong position halfway through the chase but was then unluckily runout for 37 when bowler Jan Frylinck’s boot scored a direct hit.

Harry Tector went second ball, George Dockrell also fell cheaply and the loss of three wickets in four balls in the 16th over effectively ended hopes of avenging last year’s defeat by Namibia that dumped Ireland out of the delayed 2020 World Cup.

A scorecard that showed only Stirling, Stephen Doheny, Lorcan Tucker who made 34, and Singh in double figures in a total of 127 all out, will be of concern for coach Heinrich Malan but far better an off day now than next week against Zimbabwe, Scotland or the West Indies.