Ireland came into the Belfast leg of the DafaNews Cup T20 series with South Africa trailing 1-0 after losing the first encounter at Malahide earlier in the week.
To keep the series alive, Ireland had to win the second game at Stormont and they got off to a great start with Stirling reducing the Proteas to 0-2 after 4 balls! This became 58-5 at the halfway stage but Ireland hadn’t reckoned on David Miller, the South African middle order batsman, who played a quite superb match-winning innings of 75 off 44 balls. In all he hit five sixes, with 4 coming in the 20th over to give the Proteas the momentum at the break. Best for Ireland with the ball was Paul Stirling with 2-12 in 3 overs.
In reply Ireland’s innings got off to a poor start losing O’Brien in the second over for 0. Balbirnie followed shortly after and when Stirling was third out with the score on 46 it was an uphill battle for the home side. Wickets fell regularly and at 99-9 it was all but up for Ireland. Mark Adair played a little cameo and finished unbeaten with 15 when the final wicket fell at 117 leaving South Africa winners by 42 runs.
In the third and final game of the series South Africa again won the toss and chose to bat first. Skipper Temba Bavuma, who had failed in the previous two games, made sure this time with 72 off 51 balls with six 4s and two 6s. He was well supported by Reeza Hendricks who made a fine 69 in a 1st wicket partnership of 127 in just 15.2 overs. The innings was again given impetus in the final overs by that man Miller who made a quick fire 36 off 17 balls as the Proteas closed on 189-2 in their 20 overs.
Again, Ireland made a poor start losing O’Brien in the second over with the score on 9. Stirling and skipper Balbirnie steadied things and then a partnership of 33 in just over 4 overs between Balbirnie and Tucker gave Ireland a sniff of victory. However, wickets started to tumble and after 15 overs the home side were 102-8. Some lusty blows from tailender Craig Young, three 4s and one 6, gave the total some respectability. South Africa taking the series 3-0
Player of the series was South Africa’s David Miller.
Special mention of Ben White who made his Ireland debut in the game