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Dangerous lightning cuts Ireland Wolves' opening T20 short

The Ireland Wolves have suffered a two-run loss under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method after dangerous lightning near the ground forced an abandonment of play mid-way through Namibia’s run-chase in the first T20 of the Wolves’ tour at the Wanderers Cricket Ground today.


MATCH SUMMARY  

Ireland Wolves v Namibia Men, 1st T20Windhoek, 21 March 2022  

Wolves 90 (18 overs; M Commins 29, C Campher 22; H Ya France 3-12)

Namibia 41-4 (7 overs; K Birkenstock 16*; P Chase 2-2)  

Namibia won by 2 runs (DLS)

SCORECARD

 Murray Commins, in his second match for Ireland Wolves, top-scored with 29 on a low-scoring and variably-paced pitch that rewarded disciplined bowling throughout the day. Commins recently qualified for Ireland through residency and was possibly the only Wolves batter to successfully hold the dominant hand over the Namibian bowling attack. Following his 60 in the Ireland Wolves match against Zimbabwe last September, the left-handed South African-born batter has made an impressive start to his time in the Green.

After starting the match 45 minutes late (and reduced to 18 overs-a-side) due to persistent passing showers, the Namibian bowling attack hit their mark from the first over. Jeremy Lawlor (0) and James McCollum (7) fell early, before Commins began to counter-attack. He struck two fours and a six in a 22-ball innings of 29, before unluckily falling to a spectacular diving catch at short third after middling a reverse-sweep.

Curtis Campher (22) fired briefly, but was caught at long-off seeking his second maximum in his 18-ball stay, and suddenly the Wolves recovery was stumbling at 59-4 in the 10th over.

The Irish batters looked a little uncertain at times about the pace of the pitch, but continued to look to play their shots against a disciplined Namibian attack. Senior Namibian international Helao Ya France (3-12 from 4 overs) delivered a particularly impressive spell of right-arm off-spin, and Nicol Loftie-Eaton grabbed two wickets through the middle overs, leaving the Wolves lower-order with much to do.

The tail-end resistance was determined, but lacked an anchor batter who could stay in and build the innings around. Wen Ben Shikongo ripped through Graham Kennedy and Ben White with almost identical yorkers to finish the Wolves stay with seven balls to spare, the visitors were all out for 90.

Needing quick wickets to build some sort of early pressure, Peter Chase and Graham Hume delivered three wickets in the first two overs – all three being well-held catches by a sprightly-looking Wolves fielding outfit. The pick of the catches was a diving outfield effort from Graham Kennedy at deep square leg to dismiss the threatening-looking Lohan Louwrens for 6.

When Campher claimed the fourth wicket with just 34 on the scorebaoard in the 7th over, the Wolves looked well in the hunt, and closing in on what would be a dramatic low-scoring win. However, nearby lightning strikes near the ground and dark clouds overhead stopped the game shortly after, with the Namibians ahead of Duckworth-Lewis by two runs.

Play did not resume and umpires called the match off, handing the home side a DLS win.

The two sides will return for the 2nd T20 of the three-match series at 2pm (local time) or 12pm (GMT) Wednesday at the same venue.