Ireland give positive update on fitness of Andrew Balbirnie

Skipper struck on the foot in defeat to UAE but scan seems to point to no fractures

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie awaits the result of an X-ray to see if he can lead Ireland in the upcoming World T20. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie awaits the result of an X-ray to see if he can lead Ireland in the upcoming World T20. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Cricket Ireland released an upbeat assessment of the fitness of captain Andrew Balbirnie on Sunday night after he was struck by a yorker during the defeat to the United Arab Emirates earlier in the day in Dubai.

Balbirnie played no further part in the game and was taken to hospital for an X-ray.

And although the medical team were still awaiting the radiologist’s report, physio Mark Rausa gave a positive update on the injury.

“Andrew left the field of play during his innings today after being struck on the foot by the ball – specifically a direct blow to the third, fourth and fifth toes. Initially, he could not bear weight and reported high levels of pain. The decision was made for him to retire hurt for immediate assessment and treatment.

“He has undergone an X-ray this evening in Abu Dhabi and we are currently awaiting the radiologist report to rule out a fracture to the toes, and will shortly confirm once we receive the report.”

The captain’s injury was a double blow for Ireland as they succumbed to a seven-wicket defeat in the third and final game of that series against the UAE.

Batting first in Dubai, the Irish opening pair of Stirling and Kevin O’Brien once again proved effective, putting on 85 for the first wicket to set a solid platform. However, once the duo both departed to Mustafa for 40 and 54 respectively, Ireland lost momentum as they were restricted to just 49 runs off the last 9.3 overs.

The final total of 134- for three looked a touch light, and so it proved as Muhammad Waseem powered his way to an unbeaten century, finishing on 107 not out off 62 balls as the target was met in the 17th over. Waseem’s display contained 14 fours and four maximums as the Irish attack struggled to contain him.

Craig Young picked up two for 29 off his four overs while Simi Singh also grabbed a scalp to end up on one for 21 off three.

The result means that Ireland lose the series 2-1. Two official tournament warm-up games against Pap New Guinea and Bangladesh remain. These will take place on Tuesday and Thursday.

Elsewhere over in Zimbabwe, the Irish women secured a second consecutive resounding victory over their hosts as runs flowed once again at the top of the order in an eight wicket win.

Opening pair Leah Paul and Gaby Lewis excelled yet again, putting on 145 for the first wicket as they made light work of Zimbabwe’s underwhelming total of 178. It is the second time in as many matches that the two have notched a century partnership and had individual scores of higher than 50.

Paul was dismissed for 63 (83), but Lewis batted through to the end of the innings to finish unbeaten on 96 (129).

Earlier on in the day, spin once again did the damage with the ball as Paul, Celeste Raack and Cara Murray combined to take seven of the Zimbabwe wickets to fall. Raack ended as the pick of the lot with figures of three for 34, while she also chipped in with the run out of Tasmeen Granger.

Skipper Laura Delany came up with the crucial scalp of Mary-Anne Musonda – a centurion earlier in the week – bowling the Zimbabwe captain with an off-cutter that castled the middle stump.

The result ensures that Ireland cannot lose the four-game series with just one match remaining. This takes place on Monday, with the first ball to be bowled at 8.30am Irish time.

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