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Ireland well beaten by South Africa in third T20 international

An opening stand of 127 left Ireland with a mountain to climb in final game of the series.

Image: Presseye/Rowland White/INPHO

SOUTH AFRICA DEFEATED Ireland by 49 runs in today’s T20 international in Belfast, completing the series with a 3-0 victory.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the visitors put the game beyond Ireland’s reach by posting a total of 189/2 from their 20 overs. The damage was done when openers, Temba Bavuma and Reeza Hendricks, put on 127 for the first wicket.

At this stage, there were five overs remaining. With so many wickets in hand, however, South Africa threw caution to the wind, Bavuma and David Miller adding 32 in no time, Millar and Henrich Klassen scoring 30. In total, South Africa added 69 runs from the final 28 balls. Their score, 189/2, was the highest of the series.

In response, Ireland knew they needed a good start. Instead they lost Kevin O’Brien in the second over with just nine runs on the board.

However they had positives to take with the bat, also making their best total of the three-game encounter. While O’Brien fell early, Paul Stirling started strongly, with an expansive lofted six over extra cover arguably the shot of the day.

He departed for 19, a leading edge swirling to third man, but Andrew Balbirnie carried on, striking four boundaries in his 27 before being pinned lbw by George Linde. Still, at the halfway stage Ireland were 75-3, three wickets worse off than South Africa, but ahead on runs at the equivalent point in the innings.

However, the first ball in the second 10 overs brought Lorcan Tucker’s enterprising knock to an end, inside-edging Wiaan Mulder’s first ball to the keeper, and the all-rounder struck again with the last ball of his first over, Aiden Markram completing a diving catch at the long-on rope to see off Harry Tector. A mini-slide, including two run outs, saw Ireland slip from 92-5 to 102-8, Singh, Shane Getkate and Adair falling in quick succession.

As in the first two games, Ireland’s tail rallied, though again with little hope of changing the course of the contest. This time it was Craig Young and Barry McCarthy, the former more than doubling his career run tally in one knock, and the latter fresh from a career-best of his own in his most recent innings.

They put on 33 in three overs, each striking a six, before Young sliced an expansive drive into the off-side, with Mulder taking a good catch running backwards.

White and McCarthy ensured Ireland batted out the overs, but South Africa ran out comprehensive winners, with Bavuma claiming the Player of the Match award as well as the series trophy.

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     South Africa 189-2 (20 overs; T Bavuma 72, R Hendricks 69; S Singh 1-27)

      Ireland 140-9 (20 overs; A Balbirnie 27, C Young 22; P Mulder 2-10)

 South Africa won by 49 runs

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