Andy Balbirnie is hoping to make another piece of history today by clinching a second win over South Africa at Malahide that would give Ireland a 2-0 series victory in the World Cup Super League, after the first game was abandoned.
albirnie scored a century in Tuesday’s shock win over a team ranked fifth in the world that ended 15 years of near misses and gave the Boys in Green a first ODI victory on home soil against one of the traditional Test-playing nations.
“We hadn’t won at home against a top-eight team so that’s another thing to tick off the list, but I know the guys are now eager and hungry to go on and win the series too,” skipper Balbirnie said.
Wind back a week and the Ireland management team would probably have accepted the five points from Sunday’s rained-off match as an unexpected bonus from a World Cup qualifying series they would have been privately writing off.
The 43-run win that followed was a shock as much to the home side as their opponents who had never come close to losing to Ireland in seven previous ODIs and will now be primed for revenge with ‘rested’ Quinton de Kock back in their ranks.
After two failures against the Netherlands last month, the Ireland batting unit is finally clicking, with Harry Tector and George Dockrell’s 90-run partnership from 46 balls that was every bit as important to the win as their skipper’s contribution.
Balbirnie went as far as nominating YMCA youngster Tector’s career-best 79 as “the innings of the day” while the bowling and fielding were back to a high level after looking flat and mis-firing at times in Deventer.
“The character we showed and the way our guys bowled, particularly in the middle and towards the death, was a credit to them,” Balbirnie said. “It was a huge day for cricket in Ireland.”
All three disciplines will need to click again today if Ireland are to pull off a second win that would see them looking towards the top of the Super League table again, and World Cup qualification after the setbacks against the Dutch and Afghanistan.
Ireland v South Africa
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