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Ireland claim T20I series win over Afghanistan in rain-affected thriller
BELFAST - Ireland Men sealed the T20I series against Afghanistan with a thrilling, rain-affected win in the decider at Stormont.
Ireland won the toss and elected to bowl first in the final game of the five-match series, making an excellent start thanks to an opening burst from Player of the Match Mark Adair.
After a quiet first over from Josh Little, Hazratullah Zazai looked to have got Afghanistan moving with two consecutive boundaries, the first streakily skewed past point, and the second smoked through the covers. However, Adair struck back, enticing the explosive opener to miscue high into the air, with Simi Singh taking the catch at mid-off. Three balls later, he claimed another, Rahmanullah Gurbaz poking outside off and edging through to the keeper.
Little snuck through a second quiet over before Adair struck again, once more hitting back after a first-ball boundary. This time he was cut through point by Ibrahim Zadran before bouncing out the No.3, a cue-end flying to short third man, where Barry McCarthy claimed an excellent diving catch.
Afghanistan found themselves 26-3 after four overs and took their time to rebuild. The ball only reached the fence once in the next five overs, and that came courtesy of an overthrow reaching the boundary. With nine overs gone, Afghanistan were 42-3, scoring at a tick over 4.5 runs per over.
The tourists changed tack as Simi Singh was introduced, with Usman Ghani, previously becalmed on eight off 21, smashing 20 runs off the 10th over of the innings, with a pair each of fours and sixes giving Afghanistan a much-needed boost.
Andrew Balbirnie turned to Little in pursuit of a breakthrough, and the left-armer obliged. Two short balls dismissed Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi in the space of two balls, with Lorcan Tucker completing the catches on both occasions. The second was a special effort, with the keeper running forward and taking a one-handed grab inches from the turf to see off the Afghanistan captain.
Once again Afghanistan rebuilt, putting on 29 in the next four overs to lay the platform for the last five overs. However, it was at this point that the rain fell, and with the score reading 95-5, a lengthy delay curtailed the first innings, also lopping off 13 overs from the reply.
That left Ireland needing 56 runs in seven overs for a series win, a last-lap sprint to the finish befitting a contest between two sides jockeying for supremacy. And even in the space of 42 balls there was space for a twist or two.
Afghanistan began strongly, a four and a six bookending the otherwise boundaryless first 12 balls, and after Mujeeb Ur Rahman claimed the wicket of Andrew Balbirnie, pinned lbw, and conceded just six runs from the third over, the required rate had ticked from seven an over to nine an over.
Rashid Khan was introduced and tempted Paul Stirling with a tossed-up delivery. The opener took the bait, but successfully so, smashing high over long-on. When Lorcan Tucker shuffled and smashed the first ball of Mujeeb’s next over up and over the leg-side, Ireland were well on top. But the dismissal of Stirling brought Afghanistan back into it. He holed out off Mujeeb, having become the fourth man in history to the milestone of 3,000 T20I runs during his innings.
Harry Tector punched his first ball, a low full toss, through the covers for four, to ease the Irish nerves but the dismissal of Tucker, mistiming a slog sweep off Rashid, put the game back in the balance.
But it was Ireland who held firm. Some scampered ones and twos brought the requirement down to five needed from four, with a sweetly timed George Dockrell pull shot finding the fence to all but confirm the result. One ball later, victory was sealed with two deliveries to spare, giving Ireland a 3-2 series win.
George Dockrell was named Player of the Series for his unbeaten batting exploits having scored 141 runs across five innings without being dismissed.
Ireland v Afghanistan, 5th T20I, Stormont, Belfast, 17 August 2022
Afghanistan 95-5 (15 overs; U Ghani 44*, A Omarzai 15*; M Adair 3-16)
Ireland 56-3 (6.4 overs; P Stirling 16, L Tucker 14; M Rahman 2-17)
Ireland won by seven wickets with two balls remaining (DLS Method)
Terrific display from Ireland but totally deserved. They were coasting until Simi Singh was introduced to the attack and it swinged to the hosts. Thankfully he had only one over! A thriller despite the weather.
Ireland Men to play a Test match and ODI series against England in first year of new ICC Future Tours Programme
DUBLIN – The International Cricket Council today released a new four-year Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the men’s game which will see Ireland Men play 113 matches against Full Members between May 2023 and April 2027.
In an action-packed start to the new year, Ireland Men start 2023 with tours of Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as part of the current 2019-2023 FTP, before the new 2023-2027 FTP begins in May.
The announcement of the new FTP, a result of a collective effort of Full Members with ICC’s support, ensures certainty of cricket fixtures with the confirmation of all bilateral series across the three formats. The exact dates of the series are for the Members to announce in due course.
The announcement of the new Men’s FTP comes a day after the first ever Women’s FTP was announced.
OVERVIEW OF FTP 2023-2027
Ireland starts the new FTP with a home white-ball series against Bangladesh, then immediately travel to England for a one-off Test match in June 2023.
Ireland will also tour England for three ODIs before taking on Zimbabwe for one Test, three ODIs and three T20Is later in the year. January 2024 will then see Ireland play Afghanistan away for one Test, three ODIs and three T20Is, one of their four series against the Asian team during the five-year cycle.
Ireland, who gained Test status along with Afghanistan in 2017, will also play Tests against New Zealand and Zimbabwe at home, while their other limited overs fixtures include those against Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
In all, Ireland Men are set to play 12 Test matches, 54 one-day internationals and 47 T20 Internationals against fellow Full Member sides. The programme outlined does not include the fixtures against Associate Members, of which will be announced in due course. The FTP fixtures are all outside of further international matches to be played as part of ICC events – the first such ICC event may be the Cricket World Cup Qualifier in June-July 2023 (if Ireland doesn’t automatically qualify through the World Cup Super League).
IRELAND MEN’S PLAYING SCHEDULE 2023-2027
Remaining fixtures under the 2018-2023 FTP:
January 2023: Zimbabwe v Ireland Men in Zimbabwe (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
March 2023: Bangladesh v Ireland Men in Bangladesh (1 Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
April 2023: Sri Lanka v Ireland Men in Sri Lanka (1 Test)
Ireland Men’s playing schedule under the new 2023-2027 FTP:
May 2023: Ireland Men v Bangladesh in Ireland (3 ODIs, 4 T20Is)
May 2023: England v Ireland Men in England (1 Test)
September 2023: England v Ireland Men in England (3 ODIs)
November 2023: Zimbabwe v Ireland Men in Zimbabwe (1 Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
January 2024: Afghanistan v Ireland Men in India (1 Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
May 2024: Ireland Men v Pakistan in Ireland (3 T20Is)
July 2024: Ireland Men v South Africa in Ireland (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
August 2024: Ireland Men v Zimbabwe in Ireland (1 Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
September 2024: Ireland Men v Australia in Ireland (3 ODIs, 1 T20I)
January 2025: Zimbabwe v Ireland Men in India (2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
June 2025: Ireland Men v West Indies in Ireland (3 ODIs)
June 2025: Ireland Men v England in Ireland (3 ODIs)
July 2025: Ireland Men v Afghanistan in Ireland (1 Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
September 2025: Pakistan v Ireland Men in Pakistan (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
October 2025: Sri Lanka v Ireland Men in Sri Lanka (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
November 2025: Bangladesh v Ireland Men in Bangladesh (2 Tests, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
May 2026: Ireland Men v New Zealand in Ireland (1 Test)
July 2026: Ireland Men v South Africa in Ireland (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
August 2026: Ireland Men v Bangladesh in Ireland (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
August 2026: Ireland Men v Afghanistan in Ireland (1 Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
March 2027: Afghanistan v Ireland Men in India (1 Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is)
Afghanistan wins rain-shortened match to square series making Wednesday a decider
BELFAST - Afghanistan triumphed in the rain-affected fourth T20I by 27 runs to set up a series-deciding match on Wednesday.
In an 11-overs-a-side contest, the tourists put up a monumental total of 132-6 after hard-hitting knocks from Najibullah Zadran (50 off 24) and Rashid Khan (31 off 10). In response Ireland lost regular wickets as Fareed Ahmad starred with figures of 3-14, with the hosts bowled out for 105 from the final ball of the innings.
Rain meant a delayed start, with the match beginning at 17:30 local time, two hours after the scheduled start.
Ireland won the toss and chose to bowl first but it was Afghanistan who took the early initiative; Rahmanullah Gurbaz hooked a six to make it 17 runs off the opening over, bowled by Josh Little. Gurbaz smashed 24 off 13, eventually perishing in the third over when he gifted Mark Adair with a catch at short fine-leg off the bowling of Barry McCarthy.
The dismissal prompted a stumble from Afghanistan’s top order; Gareth Delany then struck with his first two balls of the day as the batting side went from 37-0 to 38-3 in the space of five deliveries. Fionn Hand then accounted for Mohammad Nabi in the fifth over, with the Afghanistan captain finding Andrew Balbirnie at cover for 5.
But Afghanistan recovered well from 55-4, led by Najibullah, who followed up his 18-ball 42 from the previous T20I with another sparkling knock. His 24-ball stay saw him strike four fours and three sixes, and Rashid joined in on the fun too, smashing three sixes in an effective cameo.
For Ireland leg-spinner Delany finished with his career-best figures, his three overs resulting in a haul of 3-33.
Like Afghanistan, Ireland had a brief but blistering opening stand. A Paul Stirling cover drive got the innings moving from ball one, and Balbirnie went four, four, six in the second over as Ireland moved to 28-0 after nine deliveries.
But Balbirnie fell for 15 from the 10th ball of the innings, and the losses of Stirling and Lorcan Tucker a couple of overs later left Ireland in serious trouble.
Harry Tector got a start but was Fareed’s third of the day. Ireland, in the end, were in debt to the in-form George Dockrell in ensuring they reached three figures. Having hit his first T20I half-century in the previous T20I, Ireland’s No.5 smashed 41 off just 27 deliveries, his knock including four fours and two sixes.
He couldn’t find support from elsewhere, however, with no one in Ireland’s bottom six able to cross 3.
Rashid completed a Player-of-the-Match performance with figures of 2-21, helping level the series at 2-2. The two sides will now contest a decider in the fifth and final T20I on Wednesday.
Ireland v Afghanistan, 4th T20I, Stormont, 15 August 2022
Afghanistan 132-6 (11 overs; N Zadran 50, R Khan 31*; G Delany 3-33)
Ireland 105 (11 overs; G Dockrell 41*; F Malik 3-14, R Khan 2-21)
Afghanistan won by 27 runs
All square 2-2 and next Wednesday will be the decider. Come on Ireland and be there at this historic finale.
Congratulations lisburn well done
Yes, Lisburn were terrific all season!
The Afghans fight back
Afghanistan sealed a 22-run win in the third T20I of the ITW Ireland v Afghanistan T20I Series to keep their hopes of a series win alive – despite late batting heroics by the Irish lower order.
The touring side’s top four batters delivered to put up a strong total of 189-5, and Ireland were quickly reduced to 36-4 in their run chase.
The hosts looked down and out at 85-7 in the 13th over, but George Dockrell (58* off 37) and debutant Fionn Hand (36 off 18) kept Ireland’s hopes alive with a stunning eighth-wicket partnership worth 74 – just six runs short of a world-record 8th wicket stand in T20I cricket. In the end, though, Afghanistan held on to celebrate their first win of the series.
Afghanistan were quick to put aside a difficult performance with the bat in the second T20I – 11 runs from Mark Adair’s opening over set the base for a 90-run opening partnership between Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai.
Gurbaz was the more expansive presence at the top of the order, hitting eight fours and a six on his way to a 31-ball half-century, the landmark reached from the final ball of the 10th over.
Ireland were finally able to celebrate in the 12th over, when Gurbaz slashed hard at Josh Little – the ball met the edge of the bat, ballooning up high and eventually into the safe hands of Adair at short third man.
A couple of overs later Hand was able to celebrate his first international wicket, with Zazai finding Paul Stirling at short third, who took a fine tumbling catch low to his right.
But the loss of the openers didn’t hinder Afghanistan, with Ibrahim Zadran stepping up in an enterprising cameo – he smashed a quickfire 36 before an attempted lap to the leg-side saw him guide a Little delivery to the keeper.
But more destruction was to come: Najibullah went on a six-hitting spree in the final two overs as he smashed 42 off just 18 deliveries. There were no fours hit from the left-hander – his desire for the aerial route resulted in five sixes.
Set a steep target of 190, Ireland were in trouble quickly in their chase, losing Stirling for a duck in the first over – the right-hander couldn’t take advantage of a full toss, hitting Fazalhaq Farooqi to Usman Ghani at cover.
A couple of overs later Farooqi was celebrating the wicket of the other Irish opener – Balbirnie also fell victim to a full toss, toe-ending a wide delivery to backward point to depart for 1.
The loss of Harry Tector – the right-hander feathered behind a wide Naveen-ul-Haq delivery to the keeper for 3 – left Ireland in serious trouble on 22-3 in the fourth over.
Curtis Campher picked up a couple of boundaries but he too fell to Naveen, for 8, and while Tucker continued his fine form at No.3 to advance to 31, an excellent catch by Naveen at deep midwicket ended the gloveman’s innings to leave Ireland 58-5 in the ninth over.
Wickets continued to tumble, but Ireland still had the power of Dockrell and Hand at the crease. Together the pair turned the tide, launching some huge hits to bring Ireland back into the game.
Dockrell went to a half-century off just 28 balls and Hand hit four fours and two sixes to get himself to 36 off 17, leaving 31 required from nine deliveries. But Naveen soon celebrated his third wicket of the day, with Hand scooping his delivery to a running Zazai at short fine leg.
Graham Hume – also on T20I debut – was run out at the end of the penultimate over, and while Dockrell finished on a new career-best in the format, Afghanistan were the side celebrating at the close.
Ireland v Afghanistan, 3rd T20I, Stormont, 12 August 2022
Afghanistan 189-5 (20 overs; R Gurbaz 53, N Zadran 42; J Little 2-29)
Ireland 167-9 (20 overs; G Dockrell 58*, F Hand 36; F Farooqi 2-11)
Afghanistan won by 22 runs
IRELAND TWO UP
A fine bowling performance set Ireland up for a five-wicket win over Afghanistan to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20I series.
The hosts limited to the visitors to 122-8 after 20 overs, with four bowlers taking two wickets apiece to ensure Afghanistan’s batting effort never gathered any serious momentum.
While Ireland briefly tumbled in the middle overs of their chase, falling from 72-1 to 86-4, George Dockrell held his nerve with an unbeaten 19-ball 25 to secure victory.
Mark Adair got the ball rolling after Afghanistan chose to bat first, taking a wicket with the first ball of the second over; Rahmanullah Gurbaz found the hands of Barry McCarthy to depart for 1. Josh Little then bowled Usman Ghani in the next over to lea
Ibrahim Zadran was getting going in the powerplay, taking three boundaries off McCarthy’s first over, but Curtis Campher struck from the final ball of the sixth over – Zadran’s flick to the leg-side saw Andrew McBrine sprint in from deep midwicket to take an excellent catch.
Campher switched ends and struck from his next over, accounting for Najibullah Zadran, and Mohammad Nabi was the next man to go – attempting to go big off Gareth Delany’s leg-spin, the Afghanistan captain holed out to Dockrell at long-on for 9.
Afghanistan’s biggest partnership of the innings followed, when Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai put on 30, but Delany struck again – Shahidi’s reverse sweep found McBrine at backward point.
Afghanistan failed to find much firepower at the end of their innings – just 26 runs came off the last five overs as Little (2-18 off four overs), Adair (2-12 off three) and Delany (2-19 off four) put the finishing touches to a fine display.
Paul Stirling departed early in the chase for 4 to Naveen-ul-Haq, but Andrew Balbirnie – who found form in the first T20I of the series with a half-century – rattled along, driving Rashid Khan through the covers for to move to 18 in the fifth over of the innings. He later swept Mujeeb Ur Rahman for six, but the Afghanistan spinner eventually got his revenge, dismissing Balbirnie for 46 off 36 balls to leave Ireland 72-2.
Then came a bit of trouble for the Irish, with Mohammad Nabi striking twice in the 14th over, Harry Tector (5) and Lorcan Tucker (27) both sent on their way.
But Dockrell eased any nerves, keeping calm even as Campher was dismissed for 7 in the 17th over. Victory was sealed with the final ball of the 19th over, Fazalhaq Farooqi deposited for six to give Ireland their second win of the week.
Ireland v Afghanistan, 2nd T20I, Stormont, 11 August 2022
Afghanistan 122-8 (20 overs; H Shahidi 36; M Adair 2-12, C Campher 2-13)
Ireland 125-5 (19 overs; A Balbirnie 46, G Dockrell 25*; M Nabi 2-15)
Ireland won by five wickets
Roll on the 3rd!
Andrew Balbirnie leads Ireland to win in first T20I against Afghanistan.
Ireland held on for a thrilling seven-wicket victory in the first T20I against Afghanistan, securing the result with a ball to spare.
Chasing 169, Lorcan Tucker and Andrew Balbirnie hit quickfire half-centuries before Harry Tector (25 off 15*) and George Dockrell (10 off 5*) took Ireland over the finishing line.
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz hitting three boundaries off the fourth over of the innings – bowled by Andrew McBrine – to get the visitors moving. Gurbaz perished in the very next over though, swatting a Barry McCarthy delivery to Harry Tector at mid-off to depart for 26
Usman Ghani and Hashmatullah Shahidi put aside that setback to keep the scoreboard ticking along, building a partnership that took Afghanistan to 75-1 after nine overs. But Dockrell’s entry into the attack proved pivotal; the left-armer got Shahidi to top-edge a delivery safely into the hands of Paul Stirling at short fine leg for 11.
Ghani advanced to his fourth T20I half-century, helping Afghanistan past 100, but spin brought another breakthrough – Gareth Delany struck with the last ball of the 14th over, with Najibullah Zadran top-edging the leg-spinner to McBrine at backward point.
The wicket prompted a tumble in the Afghanistan middle order, with four wickets falling in four overs to leave the visitors 134-6 after 17 overs. McCarthy accounted for Rashid Khan in the penultimate over for 2, but Mark Adair took some punishment from Ibrahim Zadran in the final over of the innings, conceding 16 runs off three consecutive deliveries as Afghanistan finished on 168-7.
In response, Balbirnie looked in fine touch from the get-go, swivel-pulling Fazalhaq Farooqi from the final ball of the third over to move 19 off just 10.
Paul Stirling, playing his 300th T20, was watchful to begin with, seeing off a Naveen-ul-Haq maiden in the powerplay. But he eventually found his feet, smashing Azmatullah and Naveen for sixes as Ireland motored to fifty inside six overs.
Stirling eventually departed for 31 to Mohammad Nabi, but Ireland remained in control: Tucker and Balbirnie motored along, with the latter reaching his half-century from 34 balls at the end of the 14th over.
But Player of the Match Balbirnie then swept Mujeeb Ur Rahman straight to Najibullah in the deep to depart for 51 and, and a couple more tight overs followed to leave Ireland requiring 41 from the final four overs.
Tucker advanced to a half century from just 31 balls, but Naveen accounted for him at the end of the 18th over, leaving Ireland in serious trouble.
But Harry Tector, having started slowly, delivered a timely six off Farooqi in the penultimate over, launching the ball over deep midwicket, leaving 13 needed from the final over.
A boundary from Tector eased the pressure, and Dockrell was the man to finish the job, hitting consecutive boundaries to seal a thrilling victory.
Ireland v Afghanistan, 1st T20I, Stormont, 9 August 2022
South Africa 168-7 (20 overs; U Ghani 59, I Zadran 29*; B McCarthy 3-24)
Ireland 171-3 (19.5 overs; A Balbirnie 51, L Tucker 50; M Ur Rahman 1-22)
Ireland won by seven wickets
A thriller! And we won!
Ireland lose to South Africa
Ireland will have plenty of experience after the matches against India, New Zealand and South Afica. However, next week gives them an apportunity with realistic goals against Afghanistan at Stormont. Yes, a tough opponent, but Ireland are up to the task!
Ireland v South Africa, 2nd T20I, Bristol, 5 August 2022
South Africa 182-6 (20 overs; R Hendricks 42, H Klaasen 39; G Delany 2-24)
Ireland 138 (18.5 overs; H Tector 34, B McCarthy 32; W Parnell 5-30)
South Africa won by 44 runs
A clean up in the Irish Senior Cup for the NCU!
Semi-Finals - Sunday 31st July
Phoenix 116-9 (25 overs, A Chester 29, A Coulter 2-20, K Dudgeon 2-32, J Matchett 3-19)
CIYMS 117-4 (20.4 overs, J Matchett 55, D Ranolia 2-22)
CIYMS beat Phoenix by 6 wickets
Lisburn 231-8 (F Fazal 51, N Whitworth 36, D Sinpson 45, A Berry 24, D Miller 20, M Granger 3-30, R Cronje 2-47, L Thomson 2-39)
Clontarf 153 (43.3 overs, E Delany 22, J McNally 32, A McGeehan 24, N Whitworth 3-36, M Humphreys 3-40, F Fazal 2-29)
Lisburn beat Clontarf by 58 runs
Well done CI and Lisburn the best teams in Irish cricket this year.
But why is the final at Bready?
The Leinster Lightning have regained the Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy after a convincing victory over the Northern Knights on the third day of the final 3-day T20 Festival at Pembroke Cricket Club. This is the seventh time the Lightning have claimed the title since the competition’s launch in 2013.
Congrats Leinster Lightning, but the biggest talking point amongst the Pembroke enthusiasts was the huge disappointment of the Northern performers.
Munster Reds and Leinster Lightning were streets above the NW Warriors and Northern Knights.
Disappointment were the kindest comments!
Munster Reds v North West Warrior
Warriors 165-8 (20 overs; S Doheny 58; D Delany 3-17, C Campher 3-33)
Reds 168-4 (14.1 overs; PJ Moor 75, M Commins 42; S Macbeth 3-24)
Reds won by 6 wickets
Game 2: Leinster Lightning v Northern Knights
Leinster Lightning v Northern Knights
Knights 96 (14.4 overs; C Carmichael 26; B McCarthy 4-18, G Dockrell 3-13, S Singh 2-26)
Lightning 97-4 (10.2 overs; A Balbirnie 52; M Adair 2-25)
Lightning won by 6 wickets
TITLE HISTORY: INTER-PROVINCIAL T20 TROPHY
2022: Leinster Lightning
2021: North West Warriors
2020: Leinster Lightning
2019: Northern Knights
2018: Leinster Lightning
2017: Leinster Lightning
2016: Leinster Lightning
2015: Leinster Lightning
2014: North West Warriors
2013: Leinster Lightning
Northern Knights break windows while Leinster Lightning break records on the second day of Inter-Pro T20 Festival
Scorecard here (match one)
Scorecard here (match two)
It may have been a case of ‘break glass in case of emergency, but a shattered clubhouse window courtesy of a six by Munster Reds’ captain PJ Moor couldn’t stop the Northern Knights from continuing their resurgence in the Inter-Provincial T20 competition with a thumping win. Meanwhile Leinster Lightning hit the competition’s highest-ever team score on the second day of the final 3-day T20 Festival at Pembroke Cricket Club.
The results today mean that three of the four sides in the competition have a chance of winning the title on the final day.
This is Day Two of the last of the three T20 Festivals.
Game 1: Munster Reds v Northern Knights
The Northern Knights continued their resurgence in the Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy competition with a second victory of the festival, this time over the table-topping Munster Reds in warm summer conditions at Pembroke today.
After losing the toss and being inserted to bat, the Northern Knights – without the services today of yesterday’s centurion Ross Adair – continued the Festivals high-scoring form by posting 228-4 from their 20 overs.
Paul Stirling (17 off 12 balls) and John Matchett started sprightly, putting on 28 from the first 23 balls, before Stirling wafted at a high ball outside off stump and feathered Liam McCarthy through to keeper PJ Moor.
The loss of talisman Stirling only served to embolden the Knights batters, with Matchett and James McCollum (50 from 27 balls) put on 126 runs in the next 10 overs. The pair struck 10 fours and 10 sixes between them as they plundered a Reds bowling attack to all parts of the ground, particularly punishing on anything short of a length
Just after registering his half-centruy, McCollum skied an attempted pull shot off David Delany that was comfortably pouched by Murray Commins at mid on. Then only four balls later, it was Matchett’s turn to mistime a pull shot – this time off the legspin of Gareth Delany – and his top-edged shot settled into the safe gloves of the keeper – out for 83 from 46 balls (7 fours, 7 sixes).
With the dismissal of McCollum and Matchett, the Reds’ bowlers began to drag themselves back into the contest. From 165-3 at the start of the 15th over, the run rate briefly dropped significantly with Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany bowling several tight overs. Despite this, the Reds couldn’t stop the Knights from upping the run rate again in the latter overs putting on 58 from the final four overs to finish on 228-4 thanks to a late flurry by Neil Rock (28*) and Ruhan Pretorius (18*).
While a momentous run chase ahead, the Reds innings began in the worst possible manner losing yesterday’s centurion Murray Commins trapped in front by Mark Adair’s first ball. The dangerous pair of Gareth Delany and Tyrone Kane fell soon after, leaving the Munster side at 8-3 in the third over.
PJ Moor (25) and Matt Ford (24) put on a stabilising 47 for the fourth wicket from just four overs, but just as the Reds looked to be climbing back into the contest then both batters fell in the 7th over to Pretorius and they team in red were 57-5, needing more than 13 runs per over to reach an unlikely victory.
Middle-order runs to Campher (20) and Fionn Hand (28) weren’t enough to generate momentum, and regular wickets fell as the Knights bowlers tightened their grip on the encounter.
In the end the Reds succumbed in the 14th over, all out for 129, giving the Knights a 99-run victory. Mark Adair (3-15) and Pretorius (3-14) did the damage with the ball, but Matchett was awarded Player of the Match for his blistering innings.
Munster Reds v Northern Knights, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 28 July 2022
Knights 228-4 (20 overs; J Matchett 83, J McCollum 50; C Campher 1-36)
Reds 129 (13.2 overs; F Hand 28; R Pretorius 3-14, M Adair 3-15)
Knights won by 99 runs
Game 2: Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors
Leinster Lightning didn’t break windows but did break a record in the second game of the day, eclipsing their own competition highest team total of 247 (achieved in 2017), posting 260-3 from 20 overs. They then completed the rout of their Warriors counterparts by dismissing them for 132 in the 18th over.
After losing the toss, Leinster Lightning were asked to bat first and began on a positive note taking 20 runs from the first overs, with both Andrew Balbirnie (31) and Simi Singh (9) finding the boundary with assertive stroke play. Sensing pace off might be the order of the day, Warriors skipper Andy McBrine introduced himself in the third over and reaped immediate rewards – first pegging Singh down for four balls, then tempting the frustrated batter into a lavish aerial off-drive which he skied straight to Graham Kennedy at mid off.
Balbirnie then combined with Player of the Match Lorcan Tucker for an 88-run stand in just 45 balls, both batters peppering the boundaries or threatening the safety of the growing spectators. However, on 31 Balbirnie top-edged a sweep shot off McBrine to be well caught by Shane Getkate. The wicket only served to spur on the batting side on, with Tucker (77 from 33 balls), Harry Tector (58* from 23 balls) and George Dockrell (69 from 26 balls) executing a devastating blitz on the Warriors bowlers - only McBrine, with 2-34 from 4 overs, went for less than 13 an over.
All up, the Lightning batters smote 26 fours and 15 sixes in an audacious batting display that broke records and could potentially break the hearts of a Warriors squad looking to defend its title.
Dockrell followed up his destructive 68* from 18 balls yesterday with a 69* today - to point out it was marginally slower today would perhaps be a little unfair on the Lightning captain, who is continuing a rich vein of form that Ireland head coach Heinrich Malan will hope he can continue as the international side builds towards the T20 World Cup in October.
Needing a rapid start with an opening run rate required of 13.05, the Warriors started cautiously, scoring 20 from the first 22 balls. But just as Stephen Doheny began to hit the accelerator with a six and four off Barry McCarthy, wickets began to fall. Five wickets fell in quick succession as the North West side slumped from 20-0 to 42-5 in 23 balls. Doheny (26 from 22 balls) was the only top-order batter to get into double-figures, while the Lightning’s bowling attack shared the wickets early, supported by an excellent direct-hit run out by Singh from cover to remove Getkate.
Josh Little was back to his devastating best, taking 3-12 from four overs – the Festival’s most economical spell so far, Gavin Hoey finished with 3-34 and Dockrell chimed in with 2-5 from two overs, with the Warriors were all out for 132 in the 18th over.
The margin of victory – 128 runs – was also the competition’s largest such victory margin, surpassing Lightning’s 106-run winning margin over the same opponents back in 2013.
Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 28 July 2022
Lightning 260-3 (20 overs; L Tucker 77, G Dockrell 69*, H Tector 58*; A McBrine 2-34)
Warriors 132 (17.5 overs; S Doheny 26; J Little 3-12, G Hoey 3-34)
Lightning won by 128 runs
Two centuries and two incredible run-chases headline first day of Inter-Pro T20 Festival
Two centuries - first from Munster Reds’ Murray Commins and then from Northern Knights’ Ross Adair - along with George Dockrell’s incredible quick-fire 68 from just 18 balls were the highlights on the opening day of the final 3-day T20 Festival from Pembroke.
The previously unbeaten Munster Reds fell to their first defeat, losing to Leinster Lightning, while Northern Knights claimed their first win in this year’s competition. 849 runs were scored on the day, with huge hits the order of the day on a good batting pitch.
This is Day One of the last of the three T20 Festivals for 2022 with the weekend’s fixtures being:
27/07/2022 Leinster Lightning v Munster Reds (start 11am)
27/07/2022 Northern Knights v North West Warriors (start 3.30pm)
28/07/2022 Munster Reds v Northern Knights (start 11am)
28/07/2022 Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors (start 3.30pm)
29/07/2022 North West Warriors v Munster Reds (start 11am)
29/07/2022 Leinster Lightning Northern Knights (start 3.30pm)
Game 1: Leinster Lightning v Munster Reds
George Dockrell scored an unbeaten 68 runs from just 18 balls in a 25-minute cameo to guide Leinster Lightning to a thrilling 5-wicket victory over the previously unbeaten Munster Reds to blow the Inter-Provincial Trophy wide open in very pleasant conditions in Pembroke.
Player of the Match Dockrell’s knock included nine sixes and two fours as he went all out all guns blazing to secure the victory.
The Reds looked to have set a very competitive total from their 20 overs as Murray Commins bounced back from a pretty disappointing summer to score a 54-ball century. He started off with plenty of intent, hitting three boundaries inside the first two overs. He lost his opening partner with the final ball of the third over when Reds captain PJ Moor (8) was surprised by a ball pitched up from Barry McCarthy and the bowler claimed a return catch.
Commins wasn’t bothered by that as he went on to hit three straight boundaries after the loss of Moor. Gareth Delany (13) brought up the Reds 50 with a big six back over the bowlers head, but then fell next ball leaving the Reds at 54-2 after the power play.
Commins brough up his maiden Inter-Provincial T20 half-century in 33 balls as the Reds moved on to 93 for 2 midway through their innings – the opener then accelerating his innings as he powered to a century off just 55 balls, with 11 fours and five sixes.
Along with Tyrone Kane they combined to score 134 runs in an excellent third wicket partnership, the highest for any wicket in Inter-Pro T20, before Commins finally departed in the 17th over on 102.
Kane hit a big six in the final over to bring up his career-best Inter-Provincial T20 score of 66* from just 35 balls, with the Reds finishing on 219-5 - their highest T20 score in this competition.
In the Lightning reply both openers Andrew Balbirnie (27) and Simi Singh (43) got off to solid starts, with Singh smashing a six off Gareth Delany in the first over. They looked to be well set before Balbirnie was caught by Mike Frost in the 6th over. Lorcan Tucker (14) followed shortly, Mike Frost who had Simi on a knee with the first ball of the over got Tucker to take a step back and he left his stump open and the ball turned back in and hit middle stump.
Gareth Delany bowled well in his four-over spell, limiting some of the early damage, taking 1-21. Spinner Mike Frost was also good with the ball taking 2-38.
The Tector brothers, Harry and Tim looked impressive in their short stays at the crease, scoring 13 and 26 respectively, but the run-chase plaudits went to George Dockrell who came to the crease in the 14th over – with 93 to win with just 40 balls remaining the odds looked too long for a home side win.
Dockrell smashed two sixes from his first three balls, and continuing in that vein to score a 15-ball half-century. In his 25-minute cameo Dockrell would score 68 runs, which included three successive sixes in the 18th over which pretty much sealed the win. The Lightning completed a remarkable run-chase with nine balls to spare.
Leinster Lightning v Munster Reds, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 27 July 2022
Reds 219-5 (20 overs; M Commins 102, T Kane 66*; B McCarthy 2-44)
Lightning 221-5 (18.3 overs; G Dockrell 68*, S Singh 43; M Frost 2-38)
Leinster Lightning won by 5 wickets
See full scorecard
Game 2: Northern Knights v North West Warriors
It was always going to be difficult to match the drama of the opening game, but match it, it certainly did. Ross Adair was the hero for the Knights as they won for the first time in this season’s T20 Trophy competition. His tremendous 111 runs from just 49 balls was the highest individual score in Inter-Provincial T20 history, passing John Mooney’s 110 in 2015.
The defending champions the Warriors lost their opener Dhram Singh with the second ball, but recovered well. Stephen Doheny and Nathan McGuire combined to mount a 133-run partnership. After the opening powerplay the Warriors were on 85-1, with McGuire on 48. He went on to bring up his 50 in the 7th over off just 23 balls, including six fours and three sixes. Doheny (52) followed up with his own half-century shortly after, before his innings was finally ended in the 11th over off Matthew Humphreys, with Mark Adair holding on to a good catch at mid-wicket. They then went on to lose further wickets of McGuire (71), Jared Wilson (9) and Shane Getkate (3). That was all in a 10-ball spell, with Tom Mayes taking two of those wickets.
The runs then seemed to dry up over the next four overs, just 25 runs scored in that spell after going for over 11 an over until then. Captain Andy McBrine came in to score an important 39 while Graham Hume (11) and Scott Macbeth (3) lost their wickets late on as the Warriors posted a highly competitive 204 for 8.
Ross Adair and the returning Paul Stirling opened the batting for the Knights, and they began sharply, with Adair scoring 11 off the first over. He continued hitting boundaries at ease before Stirling smashed a six in the 4th over to get him going. They went on to score 71 runs in the powerplay, staying ahead of the required run-rate.
Stirling scored 27, in a partnership 71 runs with Adair, before he fell to his international team-mate Andy McBrine with the first ball of the 7th over. While James McCollum joined Adair in the middle, the CIYMS batter continued his assault on the Warriors bowlers - Adair bring up his 50 in just 28 balls. He combined for an 85-run partnership with McCollum.
Adair went on to bring up his maiden T20 century off just 44 balls, falling soon after for 111 off 49 balls (12 fours, eight sixes) – his wicket was one of three that fell between the 13th to 15th overs, but the damage had been done and the Knights run-chase looking reasonably comfortable needing 26 for victory off 36 balls.
Ross’s brother Mark came in and added 11 runs to the total before Neil Rock and John Matchett guided the Knights home to a hugely entertaining finish. The Knights winning by four wickets, with 14 balls to spare.
It’s all set up nicely for the next two days of the festival.
Northern Knights v North West Warriors, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 27 July 2022
Warriors 204-8 (20 overs; N McGuire 71, S Doheny 52; T Mayes 2-30)
Knights 205-6 (17.4 overs; R Adair 111, P Stirling 27; A McBrine 2-35)
Northern Knights won by 4 wickets
New Zealand complete T20I series clean sweep
Glenn Phillips guided New Zealand to a six-wicket win over Ireland in the third T20I, hitting an unbeaten 56 off 44 balls in a successful chase of 175.
Ireland bounced back from a disappointing batting performance in the second T20I – when they were bowled out for 91 – and had New Zealand on 65-3 at one stage, but an 82-run stand between Phillips and Daryl Mitchell saw the Black Caps effectively navigate a tricky period to secure a 3-0 series victory.
Ireland batted first and Paul Stirling was immediately at his blistering best, striking a six with his second ball of the innings as he moved to 19 off 10. However, at the other end Andrew Balbirnie perished to Blair Tickner for a 16-ball 10.
But Stirling and Lorcan Tucker kept moving at a healthy rate, putting on 46 off 31 balls for the second wicket. The latter looked in good touch when taking on the left-arm spin of Mitchell Santner, showcasing his array of sweeps and some quick feet down the ground to record three consecutive boundaries.
Stirling was undone by the spin of Ish Sodhi – a bit of extra bounce caught the right-hander’s glove for a catch behind – to depart for 40 and Tucker fell for 28 off 19 in the following over to leave Ireland 81-3 in the 11th over.
New Zealand slowed the scoring as Ireland tumbled to 116-6 in the 17th over, but then came a blistering stand between Mark Adair and Curtis Campher. The pair put on 58 off just 23 deliveries, with the former smashing an astonishing four sixes and two fours in his 15-ball 37.
In response, Finn Allen raced out of the blocks for New Zealand, depositing Craig Young for 14 runs in the space of three balls. But Young had the perfect response, ending his first over with a pinpoint yorker to send Allen on his way.
Martin Guptill kept the aggression going, moving to 21 off 12, but Josh Little had Dane Cleaver pull the ball straight to Campher at deep square leg for 5 to leave New Zealand 41-2 in the fifth over.
George Dockrell had two catches dropped off two consecutive balls in his first over – Phillips was the lucky man – but it was a case of third time lucky when Guptill top-edged a sweep off the left-armer to Little at short fine-leg.
Ireland were in a strong position but Phillips and Mitchell began the rebuild, rotating the strike before 20 runs off Campher in the 15th over softened the equation.
Little dismissed Mitchell for 48 in the 17th over, taking a return catch after the right-hander top-edged a pull, but Jimmy Neesham arrived to play a blistering cameo of 23* off six to end the match and series.
Ireland 174-6 (20 overs; P Stirling 40, M Adair 37*; I Sodhi 2-27)
New Zealand 180-4 (19 overs; G Phillips 56*, D Mitchell 48; J Little 2-33)
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The price is great too! LOL
Shocker at Stormont as Ireland flounder
There could be no excuses as Ireland crumbled with both batting and bowling. The batting was a huge disappointment with only Stirling and Adair making any impact. At one stage Ireland were 54 for 7 and the result was all but done and dusted after 7 overs, although Adair's defiant 27 raised a few cheers. The crowd must have anticipated today after Monday, as the attendance was another huge disappointment. Do Ulster cricketers really warrant International matches, or is Cricket Ireland interested in the north because there was little or none publicity to promote the match?
The result confirmed a series win for New Zealand, leading 2-0 with a game to play. The final T20I will take place on Friday, 22 July at the same venue at 4pm.
New Zealand 179-4 (20 overs; G Phillips 69*, J Neesham 29*; J Little 4-35)
Ireland 91 (13.5 overs; M Adair 27, P Stirling 21; M Bracewell 3-5)
New Zealand won by 88 runs