Skipper Andrew Balbirnie scores century as Ireland set Proteas a daunting target
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CAPE TOWN – Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie’s seventh ODI century laid the platform for his team’s impressive 290/5 against South Africa at Malahide in the second ODI on Tuesday.
Just like in the first ODI that was washed out on Sunday, Proteas captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and inserted the hosts. His counterpart Balbirnie, though, accepted the challenge and promoted himself up the order in place of veteran William Porterfield.
It was inspired move with Balbirnie maintaining his good form against the Proteas skipper. The skipper’s 102 off 109 balls followed up scores of 58 and 65 against the visitors previously.
Balbirnie offered one chance during an otherwise excellent innings that was timed to perfection. His moment of good fortune arose when on 74 he drove aerially into the covers, but Kagiso Rabada could not hold on to chance after making good ground off the fence to get to the ball.
It was one of four dropped chances that littered a poor display by South Africa in the field. Aiden Markram set the tone early on when he spilt a chance at second slip to give Paul Sterling (27 off 44 balls) an early reprieve before David Miller dropped the same batsman the following over.
Although Sterling never really made South Africa with the double let-off, it did allow the hosts to settle into their innings with the opening pair of Sterling and Balbirnie putting together a solid stand of 64 in 13.3 overs.
Sterling was eventually dismissed when left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took the fielders out of the equation by clean bowling the burly right-hander. Maharaj (1/50) and his spin partner Tabraiz Shamsi (1/42) were once again South Africa’s most accomplished bowlers with combined figures of 2/92 from their 20 overs.
Shamsi picked up Andy McBrine (30 off 47 balls) after the No 3 shared another constructive 60-run stand for the second wicket. The left-arm wrist spinner should have had another scalp, but wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne, who once again deputised for Quinton de Kock, could hold on to an outside edge off Harry Tector’s first ball.
🔄 CHANGE OF INNINGS— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) July 13, 2021
Phehlukwayo grabbed 2 wickets, while Shamsi, Maharaj, Rabada and bagged one each as consistent partnerships saw @cricketireland post 290/5 in their 50 overs
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📝 Ball by Ball https://t.co/ceJvyYt18y#IREvSA #ThatsOurGame pic.twitter.com/d1BKysQzBd
The strongly-built Tector certainly made the Proteas rue the missed opportunity with a high-tempo innings of 79 off 68 balls (6x4, 4x4). The 21-year-old was particularly devastating at the death in tandem with George Dockrell, as the pair shared a 90-run stand off just 48 balls for the fourth wicket.
Dockrell (45 off 23 balls) certainly played his part as the South African bowlers once again struggled at the death as Ireland clubbed 65 runs in the last five overs.
All-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo claimed two wickets at the death, but suffered the most as he conceded 73 runs in his 10 overs.