Porterfield and Balbirnie impress before rain ruins the day in Malahide

Ireland’s batsman impress in opening World Cup Super League game

Ireland 195-4 (40.2 ovs) (A Balbirnie 65, W Porterfield 63) v South Africa. No result

William Porterfield showed Ireland what they have been missing for the last two years as he returned to form in the first World Cup Super League game against South Africa but rain was the spoilsport .

On the day supporters returned to watch international cricket in Ireland after an absence of two years, only 40 overs were possible at Malahide before the umpires abandoned the game at 5.15pm.

Put into bat, Ireland had scored 195 for four when the rain, which had had already reduced the innings to first 47 overs, and then 43 overs, returned for a second and final time.

Porterfield, who was selected for only three games last year and was dropped after the first two games against Netherlands last month, had been earmarked for this series against the powerful Proteas and he justified his selection at the first attempt.

The former Ireland captain hit 63, including nine boundaries, and shared a second-wicket stand of 87 with his successor Andrew Balbirnie, who passed 50 for the second time in two matches against South Africa.

He scored 58 at the 2015 World Cup in Canberra and again took a liking to their attack on Sunday, going seven runs better before he chipped tamely to mid-wicket in the fourth over after the first interruption.

Harry Tector followed in the same over by Kagiso Rabada, comfortably the best of the visiting bowlers, but not before he had hit the fast bowler for a huge six over mid-wicket.

Mark Adair, who replaced Barry McCarthy in the other change from the last game against the Dutch, came in at the fall of Balbirnie's wicket and hit his second ball to the backward point boundary for six and followed up with another, in what proved to be final over of the match, the biggest of the day over long-on.

The one 'failure' on the day was Ireland's form batsman, Paul Stirling, who never got going, facing 40 balls for just 13, hitting only one boundary but Porterfield stepped up to the mark, sweeping superbly and invariably picking the right ball to attack.

It was also encouraging to see how comfortably the batsmen dealt with left-arm mystery spinner Tabriz Shamsi, with Porterfield his only victim, caught off the glove at slip going for a reverse sweep. Umpire Alan Neil gave it not out, but it was overturned by the DRS review.

The next game of the three-match series is back at Malahide on Tuesday (10.45am) when hopefully better weather will allow a full match as the Ireland batsmen have shown they are competitive.