Ireland upset by Canada in latest World Cup Qualifier match
The Ireland Men’s cricket team has been defeated by Canada in their fourth Group Stage match of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament in Abu Dhabi today, with automatic qualification for the World Cup now relying on winning the final Group matches and hoping for favourable results elsewhere.
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 started well, until speedster David Delany (1-31) knocked back opener Rizwan Cheema’s stumps with his first ball. Delany, despite the sapping heat, was clocked at more than 90 miles per hour during his spell today, and made the opposition batters uncomfortable at times with his raw pace.
Navneet Dhaliwal (69 from 51 balls), the Canadian captain, 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 Nitish Kumar (53). While giving his team a great launch pad for the final overs - with the score on 124-2 with 5 overs to go, his dismissal gave Irish bowlers a sniff of a way back into the game. And the men in green capitalised.
The last five overs saw four wickets fall for just 32 runs, with Canada ending on 156-5 from their 20 overs.
For Ireland, 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. Using clever variation and a tight line, Adair bowled at the top and tail of the innings and ensured the Canadian batters never got away.
In response, Ireland started poorly by losing Kevin O’Brien early for four, but looked to rectify the innings through a rapid 38-run stand between Paul Stirling and Gareth Delany (16).
The dismissal of Delany, run out after great fielding by Nitish Kumar at backward point, was quickly followed by the big loss of Balbirnie for a first ball duck. Ireland needed talisman Paul Stirling to stay in and build around, but soon after he tickled a ball through to the keeper and was out for 23.
A seemingly stabilising partnership of 29 between Harry Tector (22) and Gary Wilson (16) sought to get the Irish run chase back on track, however, the Canadian bowlers continued to plug away and wickets further came. Tector and Wilson fell within two runs of each other, and the brakes were applied to the Irish run rate. Mark Adair (12), Stuart Thompson (28*) and George Dockrell (13*) found late runs, but the target proved too difficult and Ireland fell 10 runs short.
The win leaves Ireland in fourth place in the Group B table with two games to play. Automatic qualification for the World Cup will now take two convincing wins and results going favourably elsewhere.
After the match, captain Gary Wilson said:
“They got a few more than we would have liked with the bat, but credit to the two boys who put on the runs, I thought they played well. At half-time they were probably 10 runs or so more than we would have liked, but we still felt we could chase them down. But as we saw, it can be difficult to chase when teams put the squeeze on.”
“We thought we wanted to target the powerplay and put Gareth Delany up to three. But the run out, followed by Andrew Balbirnie going first ball put the brakes on us a little bit. We recovered ok, but when Harry [Tector] got out, we never really recovered from that.”
“I thought Mark Adair was outstanding with the ball, helping to drag it back – as he has been all tournament, but ee’ve unfortunately now got to go the hard way and rely on results elsewhere. They’re all must win games for us now.”
“We just need to get a bit better in every department. We weren’t able to chase down 150-odd today, on any ground on any wicket we should be able to do that, but we just need to look at every department and get 10% better.”
Ireland Men v Canada Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi, 23 October 2019
Canada 156-5 (20 overs; N Dhaliwal 69, N Kumar 53; B Rankin 2-31)
Ireland 146-7 (20 overs; S Thompson 28*; S Zafar 2-31)
Canada won by 10 runs