Skipper Andrew Balbirnie was one of the standout performers for Ireland as they secured a 43-run victory over the Proteas on Tuesday.
A KEY aspect to facing any lower-ranked team is the execution of basics. It is about doing the simple things right in order not to give the opposition a sniff.
The Proteas fared horribly in this regard and Ireland took full advantage to claim a historic victory at Malahide in the second ODI on Tuesday. The visitors spilled four catches during their time in the field, which allowed Ireland to build up the momentum to post their highest total against South Africa.
Captain Andrew Balbirnie was a benefactor of the Proteas’ sloppiness, and the Irish skipper ensured his good fortune did not go to waste. Balbirnie paced his innings superbly; stroking a classy 102 – his seventh ODI century – which laid the foundation for the pyrotechnics that ensued in the final 10 overs.
It was this period that changed the game in favour of the hosts. South Africa were still in control at this stage, but their death bowling woes that were exposed in the Caribbean on the preceding tour raised its ugly head once more.
Ireland bashed 95 runs in the last 10, with 65 coming off the last 30 balls, with the majority of it flying off the willows of Harry Tector (79 off 68 balls) and George Dockrell (45 off 23 balls). The duo added 90 runs for the fourth wicket in eight overs of mayhem.
Tector’s blitzkrieg would have been particularly painful for Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma. The 21-year-old was dropped off the first ball he faced, with Proteas stand-in wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne spilling the chance off Tabraiz Shamsi behind the stumps.
The 291-run target was always going to be challenging, especially with South Africa’s premier batsman Quinton de Kock being rested again. But the Proteas would still have believed they had enough in their batting arsenal to chase it down.
And even when Aiden Markram (5) and Bavuma (10) were back in the hut just after the completion of the first Powerplay, the visitors were still in contention with De Kock’s replacement Janneman Malan and Rassie van der Dussen regaining the momentum.
Malan (84 off 96 balls, 7×4, 4×6) was the chief aggressor, peppering the boundary both on the ground and aerially, while Van der Dussen (49 off 70 balls, 2×4) was setting himself up to take the game deep.
But their dual dismissal within an over of each other to Dockerell and Andy McBrine swung the pendulum in Ireland’s favour.
Van der Dussen may have felt aggrieved with his LBW decision when the DRS appeared to indicate that he may have managed a slight inside edge on to his pads, but unfortunately for South Africa the decision was upheld.
Ireland had managed to get their claws into the meat of South Africa’s batting line-up, and they were not going to relent now with the visitors losing their last eight wickets for just 88 runs.