The dream of playing in the World Cup finals is over for at least another four years for the Boys in Green after a crushing 133-run defeat by Sri Lanka in Bulawayo yesterday.

A third loss in six days, has Ireland rooted joint bottom of Group B, unable to qualify for the Super Six stage of the tournament, never mind claiming one of the two World Cup places on offer.

Sri Lanka have never lost to Ireland - and never looked like losing that record - as centurion Dimuth Karunaratne helped his side to 325 all out, despite the best efforts of Mark Adair who took 4-46.

To overhaul a large, but not impossible target, Ireland need a similar contribution from one of their big guns but opener Paul Stirling fell early for six, Harry Tector was lbw for 33 and Lorcan Tucker chopped on, fifth ball.

Curtis Campher briefly raised hopes that he might repeat his century against Scotland but when his counter attack was ended on 39 by a top edge to the keeper, the game was almost up and the innings petered out on 192.

“We would have liked a few more inroads into their batting early on,” dejected skipper Andy Balbirnie said. “We fought back well and kept them down to a score we thought we could have a crack at but we didn’t bat well. 

“It was a pretty good pitch but they have good spinners and they cleaned us up.”

The match started with Josh Little firing five wides down the leg side and things didn’t get any better for the left-arm quick who bowled eight overs for 78 as he again failed to find his IPL form.

Barry McCarthy, a late inclusion for Ben White, took his chance with 3-56 and the muddled thinking that was a feature of the Ireland campaign saw Gareth Delany (2-52) asked to deliver a full quota of 10 overs after not being used at all in the previous two games.

Balbirnie now has the task of lifting his team for their final group game against the UAE tomorrow (TUES) and a play-off match to decide final placings after that.

“We’re hugely disappointed not to get to the Super Six but you’ve got to move on,” he said. 

“We are going to pick ourselves up quickly. Whenever you play for Ireland there’s a lot of pride regardless of the situation and that’s what we got to play for in the next game.”