James Shannon staked his claim for a place in Ireland's World Twenty20 squad as the Ireland A side made it four wins out of four to conclude their tour of Sri Lanka.
The Instonians batsman, who played the final three games in the qualifying tournament in Abu Dhabi in November, opened the batting in the first of two T20 games yesterday against a Sri Lankan club side and made 58 off 43 balls (four fours and three sixes) in a first wicket stand of 132 in 13 overs with Andrew Balbirnie (63).
The Irish team went on to total 203 for three and with Eddie Richardson, James Cameron-Dow and Andy McBrine each taking two wickets, the home side were bowled out for 98 in 15.3 overs.
The batting was not quite so convincing in the second game as they were restricted to 144 for eight but Shannon, batting at No 7, still scored 19 off 13 balls, a strike rate bettered only by top scorer Chris Dougherty (32) and Eddie Richardson who came in at No 11 and hit two of his four balls to the boundary, including a six.
The bowling attack, which featured George Dockrell for the first time – he was called in to replace the absent Phil Eaglestone – was more than good enough to defend the total and dismissed their hosts for 94 in 18 overs.
McBrine, an unused member of the World Twenty20 qualifying squad, must also have high hopes of retaining his place for the finals in March after finishing with three for 18, while Richardson, who also made his senior debut last season, had figures of two for six from three overs.
The A-squad fly home today but the Ireland Women will be grateful for a four-day break before their Twenty20 Tri-series in Qatar against Pakistan and South Africa.
The Women completed the 50-over leg of the tour yesterday against the Proteas who bowled them out for 53 – their second lowest total ever – with Mary Waldron the only player in double figures, her 20 including the only boundary of the innings. South Africa knocked off the runs for the loss of two wickets, one of them a run-out.