Battling Ireland lose to South Africa
by Barry Chambers

Scorecard:Ireland v South Africa
Player:GC Smith, JH Kallis, NJ O'Brien, JP Duminy
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2009

DateLine: 5th June 2009


Niall O’Brien evoked memories of his famous match-winning knock against Pakistan in 2007 with a magnificent 62 off 52 balls against South Africa at Southgate.


The Northamptonshire left-hander displayed his full range of stokes in an innings which drew widespread applause. He showed his teammates the perfect formula for batting in the abbreviated format of the game, combining quick running with boundaries at regular intervals.


Chasing a victory target of 164, Ireland and Jeremy Bray in particular got off to a flier, as the tall left-hander crashed four boundaries in his 12 ball score of 17, before tamely driving spinner JP Duminy to Albie Morkel at mid-off.


Graeme Smith had introduced spin into the attack as early as the third over, and the move paid immediate dividends. It was the triumvirate of Duminy, Botha, and Peterson in particular, who ensured that despite the heroics from O’Brien that Ireland were never seriously in contention.


The trio had a combined analysis of six for 64 from 12 overs, as Ireland struggled to find the boundaries required.


Williams Porterfield (8), Kevin O’Brien (6), Gary Wilson (0), and John Mooney (6), all succumbed to the spinners, on a track which was always difficult to score on once the pace was taken off the ball.


Andy White (16*) shared in a 50 run stand for the 6th wicket in 6.2 overs with Niall O’Brien, bringing respectability to the total after they had been reduced to 77 for 5.


Duminy (3-15), Peterson (2-30), and former Malahide professional Johan Botha (1-19) were the wicket takers in Ireland’s final total of 130-6. Earlier Ireland had fought back well after an early onslaught from Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.


The pair had added 109 in 12 overs, before Smith retired having made 63 from just 41 balls. He hit seven fours and 2 sixes, being particularly savage on Alex Cusack, whom he struck for 24 in one over. Kallis was only slightly less severe on the Irish attack, smashing 57 from just 40 deliveries, which included seven fours and two sixes.


After they both departed, retired out, Ireland fought back well, with Regan West in particular helping keep the run rate in check. The left-arm spinner bowled with plenty of guile and variety, conceding just 20 runs from his four overs, while capturing the wicket of Justin Ontong.


Peter Connell (2-35) picked up the wickets of Mark Boucher and Albie Morkel, while Cusack finished well removing the prolific Duminy for just 14.