Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA LTD
Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA LTD

Ireland opener and captain Andy Balbirnie sparkled with his seventh ODI century as they stunned SA by 43 runs in the second match at Malahide Cricket Ground in Dublin on Tuesday.

As the first match at the same venue on Sunday was rained out, the Green and White have taken a 1-0 lead in the three match ODI series that concludes on Friday.

This win also means Ireland have claimed important ODI World Cup Super League points that will boost their chances of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup while the Proteas remain at the bottom half of the qualifying table.

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to bowl but they were outdone by the batting efforts of centurion Balbirnie and other major contributors Harry Tector (79) and George Dockrell (45) as Ireland ended on 290/5.

With ball in hand, Joshua Little and Andy McBrine returned with two wickets each while Simi Singh and George Dockrell claimed one each as they registered their first ODI win over SA.

The Proteas went into this match without influential Quinton de Kock and fast bowler Lungi Ngidi who were rested while Ireland were without injured William Porterfield.

On their way to setting SA the huge 291 target for victory, Ireland first lost the wicket of Paul Stirling for 27 after Keshav Maharaj made the breakthrough in his second over of spin.

The dismissal of Stirling ended a good opening stand with Balbirnie of 64 off 81 balls as they laid a solid foundation to their innings.

Balbirnie and McBrine went about the rebuilding job with a partnership of 60 off 90 as they frustrated Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortjé, Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi.

Their stand was finally broken in the 29th over when McBrine fell victim to the spin wizardry of Shamsi. He was followed by Balbirnie shortly after he claimed his seventh century, which included four boundaries and two sixes.

Phehlukwayo claimed the last two wickets, of Harry Tector and George Dockrell.

In their chase SA lost wickets regularly, starting with Aiden Markram who was caught by McBrine for only five runs. He was followed soon after by Bavuma for 10 runs.

Things deteriorated for the Proteas a few overs later when Janneman Malan, who scored a commendable 84 off 96, was caught by Mark Adair off the bowling of Joshua Little.

SA wickets continued to tumble with Rassie van der Dussen going one run shy of his ninth ODI half century.

He was followed by Kyle Verreynne (13), Phehlukwayo (2), David Miller (24), Rabada (16), Maharaj (17) and Nortjé (10).

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