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Balbirnie is feeling positive after Ireland’s Super finish

 

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Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien

�INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Kevin O'Brien

For the first time in seven years, Ireland's Call was sung in the dressing room after a T20 international against Afghanistan after Kevin O'Brien had hit the last ball of the Super Over for six.

O'Brien and Paul Stirling were the only survivors from the last Ireland team to beat their biggest rivals in the shortest format, and it was the big-hitting duo who were sent out to win the game after the bowlers had done superbly to defend 142-8 in Greater Noida.

Craig Young carried on from where he had left off in the 19th over of the match to leave the Ireland openers with just nine to win, but although Stirling was plumb leg before to the third ball of the Super Over, O'Brien hit Rashid Khan, the World No.1 bowler, straight back over his head and over the boundary.

It was no more than Ireland deserved and, as skipper Andrew Balbirnie said after the match: "We may have lost the series, but in the last two months we've beaten the West Indies (the T20 world champions) and now Afghanistan away, so that's a big plus."

And they did it yesterday without strike bowler Boyd Rankin and George Dockrell, who made way for Barry McCarthy and Shane Getkate, who got their first action on the mini-tour.

Getkate managed only five singles from 10 balls and didn't get a bowl, but McCarthy, after going for 14 in his first two overs - in the powerplay - came back superbly to take a wicket and concede just seven runs.

For the second successive game, Josh Little was given the last over - he had been hit for 26 on Sunday - with Afghanistan needing 16 to win. Bowling wide yorkers, he erred twice to give away wides and that proved the difference as Rashid hit the eighth ball of the over to the cover boundary to tie the scores.

Harry Tector was Ireland's top scorer in the series after 31 from 22 balls, but it needed edged fours from Young and Simi Singh in the last two overs to get Ireland up to 142. Little did anyone know then how vital those boundaries would be.

Scores: Ireland 142-8 (20 overs, G Delany 37, H Tector 31, K O'Brien 26, S Singh 12 not out; Naveen Ul Haq 3-21) Afghanistan 142-6 (20 overs. Rahmanullah Gurbaz 42, Asghar Afghan 32; G Delany 2-21, S Singh 2-37, B McCarthy 1-21, C Young 1-29, J Little 1-33). Match tied. Super Over: Ireland (12-1) beat Afghanistan (8-0).

Belfast Telegraph