Ireland leave no margin for error after defeat to Canada
courtesy of RTE
Ireland lost by 10 runs to Canada in their fourth group-stage match at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi, with automatic qualification for next year’s tournament now relying on winning their final group matches and hoping for favourable results elsewhere.
With Andy Balbirnie returning to the side after missing the victory over Oman through illness, Ireland lost the toss and were asked to bowl first.
Canada started well, until speedster David Delany (1-31) knocked back opener Rizwan Cheema’s stumps with his first ball. Delany, despite the sapping heat, was clocked at more than 90 miles per hour during his spell today, and made the opposition batters uncomfortable at times with his pace.
Navneet Dhaliwal (69 from 51 balls), the Canadian captain, then took charge – hitting out with a combination of power shots and well-placed glides.
He brought up his third career half-century from 37 balls, sharing an impressive 111-run stand with Nitish Kumar (53).
While giving his team a great launch pad for the final overs – the score was 124-2 with 5 overs to go – his dismissal gave Irish bowlers a sniff of a way back into the game. And the men in green capitalised.
The last five overs saw four wickets fall for just 32 runs, Canada ending on 156-5 from their 20 overs.
For Ireland, Boyd Rankin bowled well claiming 2-31, but the best bowling performance of the day was Mark Adair, who went wicketless but bowled a miserly 0-21 from four overs.
In response, Ireland started poorly by losing Kevin O’Brien early for four, but looked to rectify the innings through a rapid 38-run stand between Paul Stirling and Gareth Delany (16).
The dismissal of Delany, run out after great fielding by Nitish Kumar at backward point, was quickly followed by the big loss of Balbirnie for a first-ball duck. Ireland needed talisman Paul Stirling to stay in and build around, but soon after he tickled a ball through to the keeper and was out for 23.
A seemingly stabilising partnership of 29 between Harry Tector (22) and Gary Wilson (16) sought to get the Irish run chase back on track, however, the Canadian bowlers continued to plug away and wickets further came.
Tector and Wilson fell within two runs of each other, and the brakes were applied to the Irish run rate. Mark Adair (12), Stuart Thompson (28*) and George Dockrell (13*) found late runs, but the target proved too difficult and Ireland fell 10 runs short.