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Ireland's bid for T20 World Cup qualification suffers shock setback at the hands of Canada

They will need to win their remaining two group games and hope for favourable results elsewhere in order to achieve automatic qualification.

Ireland fell 10 runs short in Abu Dhabi.
Ireland fell 10 runs short in Abu Dhabi.
Image: ICC

IRELAND’S BID TO reach the T20 World Cup finals suffered a setback on Wednesday in the shape of a shock 10-run defeat to Canada in Abu Dhabi.

A poor batting performance, particularly early doors, saw Ireland fall short of Canada’s 156-5 total despite the best efforts of Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson and Mark Adair to resurrect their side.

Navneet Dhaliwal and Nitish Kumar top-scored with 69 and 53 runs respectively for the Canadians.

Ireland’s defeat follows wins over Hong Kong and Oman as well as a loss to UAE, and they now sit fourth in Group B. The top four teams remain in contention for World Cup qualification, but the men in green must now win their final two group games — against Jersey on Friday and Nigeria on Saturday — and hope for favourable results elsewhere if they are to reach the global showpiece automatically.

With Andy Balbirnie returning to the side after missing the last game through illness, Ireland lost the toss and were asked to bowl first.

Canada began strongly until speedster David Delany (1-31) sent opener Rizwan Cheema packing with his first ball.

Canadian skipper Dhaliwal then took charge, hitting out with a combination of power shots and well-placed glides. He brought up his third career half-century from 37 balls, sharing an impressive 111-run stand with Kumar.

From this solid foundation, Canada found themselves on 124-2 with 5 overs to go, but Dhaliwal’s dismissal gave Ireland’s bowlers a chance, and they took it.

The last five overs saw four wickets fall for just 32 runs, with Canada ending on 156-5 from their 20 overs.

Boyd Rankin bowled well claiming 2-31, but the best bowling performance of the day was Mark Adair, who went wicketless but bowled a miserly 0-21 from four overs.

Ireland’s response with the bat, however, was below-par. Kevin O’Brien was gone early for four, and a 38-run stand between Paul Stirling and Gareth Delany came to a halt when the latter was run out following superb fielding by Nitish Kumar.

A hammer blow followed when Balbirnie was lost to a first-ball duck. Stirling soon followed with just 23 to his name.

Harry Tector (22) and Gary Wilson (16) did their best to steady the ship until they fell within two runs of each other. Adair (12), Stuart Thompson (28*) and George Dockrell (13*), ultimately, were left with too much to do, and Canada sealed one of the most significant wins of their T20 history to move top of the group.

Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella dial up Gavan Casey on the therapy couch to provide the post-mortem to Ireland’s World Cup implosion at the hands of New Zealand


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