Balbirnie’s century helps Ireland record stunning win over South Africa

Skipper hits 102 in 43-run victory over Proteas in World Cup qualifier

 

Ireland 290-5 (50 ovs) (A Balbirnie 102, H Tector 79, G Dockrell 45, A McBrine 30, P Stirling 27; A Phehlukwayo 2-73) beat South Africa 247 (48.3 ovs) (R van der Dussen 49, D Miller 24; A McBrine 2-34, M Adair 2-43, J Little 2-45) by 43 runs.

Ireland’s Call rang out from the home dressingroom for the first time in two years on Tuesday as they celebrated one of their most famous victories.

It was the first time Ireland had defeated a top eight side at home with South Africa captain Temba Bavuma admitting afterwards “we were totally outplayed”.

Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie led from the front with his seventh one-day international century but he was superbly backed up by Harry Tector and George Dockrell, who added 90 in the last eight overs as Ireland totalled 290 for five.

When Janneman Malan and Rassie van der Dussen took South Africa to 159 for two in the 33rd over, Ireland knew they would have to take all 10 wickets to ensure victory and the bowlers did just that, the last eight falling for 88 runs as the pressure to keep up with Ireland’s run-rate proved too much even for a team full of players who are regulars in the Indian Premier League.

“We knew 290 was a good score,” said Balbirnie, “ but Malahide is a fast scoring ground so we knew it would be tough taking 10 wickets. But we took our chances in the field.

“It’s our first win against South Africa and it would be unprecedented to get a series win, but that will be our target on Friday. The guys have worked hard over the last 10 days and I’m excited to see what the confidence of this win can do moving forward.”

Ireland were dealt a major setback even before the toss when William Porterfield was ruled out with a recurrence of the finger injury which threatened his participation in Sunday’s first game.

“It wasn’t ideal losing William first thing,” added the captain, with more than a hint of understatement, “but I moved up to open with Paul [Stirling] and had no hesitation in asking Andy McBrine to take my place at number three. He has batted there this season for the [North West] Warriors, got 90 odd against Bangladesh A there and today dug in and we built another partnership.

“To score four big partnerships in a row was brilliant, especially after our performance in the Dutch series [last month] and it was one of our better displays with the ball,” he said.

“Harry’s knock deserves great credit, he has been building up to that recently and that’s two 50s in his last three innings. I’m thrilled to score a century and it’s always more sweeter when we win.”

Balbirnie was one of three players who benefitted from dropped catches in a poor fielding display by the tourists and Bavuma was also unimpressed by their bowling.

“They got 100 in the last 10 overs which was criminal from us, our fielding versus their fielding was chalk and cheese and there was nothing meaningful from us with the bat. We were totally outplayed and need to come back strong on Friday,” he said.

Ireland still had to take advantage of their under-performing visitors and did so emphatically, with Balbirnie hitting 10 fours and two sixes in his 102, Tector had 10 boundaries, including four sixes in his 79 and Dockrell blasted 45 from 23 balls with five fours and two sixes in the decisive closing overs.

Dockrell, despite being selected as specialist batsmen, also starred with the ball and broke the big third-wicket stand while Mark Adair, after conceding 28 runs in his first three overs, finished with two for 43, ending the South Africa innings and the match with wickets in successive balls.

A fitting finale to a memorable win.

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