Ireland won’t be pushovers after damp start to Proteas ODI series
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CAPE TOWN - If there was any hint of complacency within the South African camp ahead of their ODI series against Ireland, the Proteas' first outing on a damp Sunday at Malahide would surely have put those notions to bed now.
There wasn't enough time to complete the first full ODI between these two countries on Irish soil since 2007 before the heavens opened up once too many times, but Ireland certainly did enough to show that they will be no pushovers when the sun does indeed stay out long enough.
Temba Bavuma won the toss and inserted the hosts and despite opting to rest Quinton de Kock and Anrich Nortje, the Proteas skipper would have expected his first-choice new ball pairing of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi to make the necessary inroads under a cloudy Dublin sky.
And although the Ireland opening pair of William Porterfield and Paul Sterling never really landed any heavyweight blows, they survived the opening Powerplay without suffering any nose bleeds either.
This set up Porterfield, in particular, to play his desired anchore role with his first ODI half-century since 2019. And even when South Africa managed to eventually find the breakthrough the forgotten man Andile Phehlukwayo, who had Sterling caught for 13, the Irish still showed great application in setting up their innings for a charge later on.
Captain Andy Balbirnie (65 off 79 balls) provided the innings with the momentun it required and although both he and Porterfield (63 off 87 balls) fell when well set, they had showed the South African bowlers that wickets were not going to be easy to come by during the remaining two matches of this series.
Although Rabada (2/43) picked up two wickets and Tabraiz Shamsi collected a scalp in addition to Phehlukwayo's solitary success, the attack lacked genuine penetration in conditions they would have expectee to dominate in.
When the match was eventually called off after the third weather intervention, Ireland's innings was delicately poised at 195/4 with 9.4 overs remaining.
Both teams will hope for a better forecast on Tuesday when the second ODI is set to take place at the same venue.