Ireland’s T20 World Cup hopes kept alive with win over Oman
Ireland lost the toss and were sent in to bat with Gareth Delany putting on a show
Ireland’s Gareth Delany was the star of the show during the Twenty20 World Cup qualifier against Oman in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Ireland 183-3 (20 overs; G Delany 89*, K O’Brien 41; K Ali 1-28); Oman 148-9 (20 overs; K Ali 50; G Dockrell 2-24, M Adair 2-26, G Delany 2-29); Ireland won by 35 runs.
Gareth Delany starred with the bat as Ireland beat Oman by 35 runs in their third Twenty20 World Cup qualifier in Abu Dhabi. After losing to UAE on Saturday, this was a vital victory for Ireland to keep alive hopes of booking their place in Australia next autumn.
Ireland, who beat Hong Kong in their Group B opener but then lost to UAE, next play Canada on Wednesday.
They will complete their group-stage programme by playing Jersey on Friday and Nigeria on Saturday.
Ireland need to finish in the top-four places in their group of seven to stay in contention for qualification.
Top spot will secure automatic qualification at next year’s T20 World Cup finals in Australia, with the teams finishing second and third in the two pools going into play-offs.
Under warm conditions, Ireland lost the toss and were sent in to bat – a decision that the Omanis would rue. Ireland had been hit before the match by the loss of in-form batsman Andy Balbirnie who had succumbed to an illness and was ruled out of the game.
Ireland’s top order batters were in a positive mood, looking to make amends for the last match loss to UAE on Saturday. Paul Stirling (11) and Kevin O’Brien (41) started out by putting on 34 for the first wicket from just over four overs. During the partnership O’Brien hit a massive six over mid-wicket early, which broke a world-record for the most sixes hit by a batsman in T20 International cricket in a calendar year (35 to date), and despite losing Paul Stirling soon after for 11, Ireland’s run rate did not slow down.
22-year-old Gareth Delany, in only his 12th T20 International since making his debut in July, smashed 89 not out from 49 balls, including nine fours and three sixes. His innings was Ireland’s third highest individual score in T20 internationals, with the five highest individual T20 international scores now all coming in 2019.
Losing his partner O’Brien with the score on 76 in the 10th over, Delany was joined by 19-year-old Harry Tector and the run rate accelerated further. Tector hit two sixes and a boundary in his innings of 28, with he and Delany sharing a quickfire 43-run stand.
Tector’s dismissal saw Mark Adair come to the crease, but the usually big-hitting Adair took on the support role and let Delany continue to pummel the Omani attack. The pair put on 64 runs in the last five overs, with Adair contributing 11 of those. Delany was in the zone – at one stage taking 33 runs from 11 balls.
Ireland finished their 20 overs with 183-3, setting the Oman side a challenging target on a slowly wearing pitch.
In response, Oman were never really in the running. Despite some big hitting by opener Khawar Ali (50 from 34 balls), the Omani batters couldn’t keep pace with a steadily increasing run rate required. The Irish bowlers took wickets at regular intervals, not letting their opponents build a threatening partnership. Gareth Delany completed his day by claiming 2-29 from four overs, including the wicket of Ali.
Mark Adair again bowled well, taking 2-24, and George Dockrell chimed in with 2-24. While only claiming a single scalp, the pace and bounce of Boyd Rankin was difficult for Oman to handle, and he ended with 1-20 from his four overs.
Oman finished on 148-9, with Ireland winning by 35 runs.