Ireland’s bowlers lead their side to victory and third place at World Cup Qualifier

Andy Balbirnie top scored for Ireland who had already qualified for T20 World Cup

Gareth Delany celebrates his wicket.

Gareth Delany celebrates his wicket.

 

Ireland 135ao (20 overs; A Balbirnie 46; C Williams 3-34); Namibia 108ao (18.1 overs; G Erasmus 51; S Singh 3-25, M Adair 2-9, B Rankin 2-17, G Delany 2-23); Ireland won by 27 runs.

The Ireland Men’s cricket team overcame a spirited Namibia and claimed victory in the third place playoff at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament today.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bat first on a hard wicket that looked good for batting. Two changes were made from the loss yesterday to the Netherlands, with Shane Getkate and Simi Singh coming into the side in place of Stuart Thompson and George Dockrell.

Paul Stirling (25) and Kevin O’Brien (17) started sprightly, but both fell to catches in the outfield when beginning to look dangerous. During his innings, O’Brien registered his 1,500th career run in T20 Internationals. Stirling and O’Brien also finish their year in first and second spot for most runs in T20Is in a calendar year for any country.

Andy Balbirnie looked in control of his innings and appeared comfortable picking off runs with the odd boundary, but off the last ball of the 15th over he top-edged a pull shot and was caught at backward square leg for 46 from 35 balls.

Mark Adair (17), with two consecutive sixes down the ground, gave Ireland’s total a late boost, but wickets tumbled and Ireland were bowled out in the last over for 135.

Needing a good start to defend a total 20-25 runs below par, Gareth Delany (2-23) struck in the second over, quickly followed by Simi Singh (3-25) in his first appearance at the Qualifier tournament. Singh’s dismissal will undoubtedly be on a shortlist of catches of the tournament, grabbing a reflex, diving caught and bowled opportunity to have Namibia at 11-2 in the fourth over.

Delany struck again with, perhaps, a fortunate LBW decision before Stephen Baard (17) and captain Gerhard Erasmus (51) stabilised the innings with a promising 22-run stand. However, having done the hard work Baard pulled Shane Getkate high into and Singh once again claimed an eye-catching catch, this time in the outfield.

Namibian captain Erasmus tried to wrestle control of the match away from the Irish bowlers with a powerful half-century, but after passing the milestone he was caught scooping a ball to Boyd Rankin at short fine leg.

With the Namibian captain’s dismissal the African team’s resistance failed and Ireland’s bowlers turned the screws with tight bowling and regular wickets. Namibia were eventually bowled out for 108 in the 19th over, handing Ireland a 27-run win.

The win today was underpinned by a fantastic bowling performance, led by Singh (3-25) and supported by Adair (2-9), Rankin (2-17) and Delany (2-23).

Ireland finish in third place at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup tournament, having earlier earned qualification for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November 2020.

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