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Balbirnie is proud as Ireland fight to the end in defeat

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Got him: South Africa’s Quinton de Kock celebrates as Harry Tector is given out lbw. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Got him: South Africa’s Quinton de Kock celebrates as Harry Tector is given out lbw. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Simi Singh. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Simi Singh. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

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Got him: South Africa’s Quinton de Kock celebrates as Harry Tector is given out lbw. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

A series win for Ireland against a top-eight side is still as far away as ever as South Africa asserted their superiority in the final match of the World Cup Super League clash to complete a 70-run victory at sunny Malahide.

Batting first, they piled up 346 for four, 15 runs more than Ireland had ever chased before, but a maiden one-day international century from Simi Singh earned the biggest cheer of the week from the spectators, restricted to a capacity of 560.

The difference from Tuesday, when Ireland won by 43 runs, was not just Jannaman Malan converting his 84 into a towering, unbeaten 177 but his opening partner was Quinton de Kock.

It was South Africa’s plan to rest De Kock – their star batsman – but in a must-win game he was brought back into the side and immediately showed his class.

He not only scored his 15th one-day international century but became just the seventh wicket-keeper to score 10,000 international runs.

The first-wicket stand of 225 was halted well short of West Indies’ huge 365 at Clontarf two years ago but it laid the platform for South Africa’s imposing total and, in the end, as Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie said, the bowlers deserved credit for sticking to their task. They conceded only 120 in the remaining 14 overs.

“I felt we were still in the game at the halfway stage,” said Balbirnie. “It’s a fast-scoring ground and big scores have been chased down here a lot. But we started poorly with the bat, lost three early wickets and were always behind the rate.

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“But I’m proud of the guys at the back end, staying with Simi who works so hard on his game and must now be considered a genuine all-rounder. To get a maiden century from No.8 was a tremendous effort. We’re all delighted for him.”

By the time Singh arrived in the middle, the game was all but up with Ireland in dire straits at 92 for six.

Still missing William Porterfield because of his finger injury, Balbirnie opened again with Paul Stirling but both were back in the players’ tent by the end of the fifth over and when Andy McBrine followed at the start of the eighth, caught behind from Lizaad Williams’ first bowl in a one-day international, Ireland were 31 for three.

The introduction of mystery left-arm spin accounted for Harry Tector, and George Dockrell and Lorcan Tucker followed within three overs.

Curtis Campher, however, continues to treat ODIs as his own personal fiefdom and compiled his fourth half-century in his first eight innings as part of the seventh-wicket stand of 104 with Singh.

Mark Adair helped him add another 30 runs for the eighth wicket and although Little was caught in the deep second ball, Craig Young stayed for another five overs. The North Down opening bowler scored only eight runs but Singh went from 64 to 100 in the last-wicket stand. Young was out next ball.

The first half of the day was all about Malan and De Kock. The partnership beat the previous best first-wicket stand by South Africa against Ireland, in Benoni in 2016, and when it was ended by a long-hop from Singh, it was the fifth highest conceded for any wicket by Ireland.

De Kock was the fastest scorer, his 120 coming off just 91 balls with 11 fours and five sixes, while Malan faced 169 balls with 16 fours and six sixes.

The teams begin a three-match T20 series back here at Malahide on Monday.

Meanwhile, Ireland have been given a different group in the World T20 with games now against Sri Lanka, Netherlands and Namibia.

The tournament, in the UAE, starts on October 17.

Meanwhile, three of tomorrow’s Robinson Services Premier League games at CIYMS, Instonians and Woodvale will now start at 11am.


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