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Ireland in play-offs but Delany a doubt

David Delany
David Delany

By Ian Callender

David Delany is a possible injury doubt for Ireland as they look ahead to next week's play-off games at the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Dubai.

The 21-year-old speedster, who broke the 90mph barrier this week, pulled up in the middle of his third over in yesterday's eight-wicket victory over Jersey and he is being monitored to see if he can play any further part in the tournament.

If there is any concern, he will take no part in today's final group game against winless Nigeria, who got their place in the Qualifiers only because of the suspension of Zimbabwe.

Captain Gary Wilson will take nothing for granted but the bottom line is that if they can't beat the west Africans they wouldn't deserve to be in Australia for the finals this time next year.

Ireland's second game at the Abu Dhabi Oval - unfortunately their last - produced a second convincing victory with Mark Adair and Paul Stirling again the stars.

Adair, whose second over was a maiden, Ireland's first in a T20 game since February 2016, won the man of the match for figures of 3-10 - after three overs he had three for four!

All six bowlers used by Wilson got among the wickets, including Craig Young, who made his first appearance of the tournament - replacing Stuart Thompson, "the pitch and dimensions of the ground suited him more than Thommo" said the captain - and the North Down bowler proved the selectors right, conceding just 11 singles and having top scorer Ben Stevens caught at extra cover.

Boyd Rankin had to wait until his last ball to join the wicket-takers, but it was worth it as he took a stunning reaction catch above his head.

David Delany struck twice, including that rare occurrence in T20, a catch at slip, before his enforced departure, while George Dockrell, who finished his over, and Thompson, Delany's replacement in the field, combined for the sixth wicket.

A target of 106 was never likely to trouble Ireland and the only question was how fast they would try to score, to improve their run-rate which decides group placings for teams level on points.

Kevin O'Brien scored his 2,000th run for Ireland in T20 games but when he was caught at extra cover in the fifth over, with the total already on 35, it was a case of safety first for the next seven overs with only five boundaries and the loss of Andrew Balbirnie.

But Stirling was still there and with just 20 needed and eight wickets left, the message came out to finish it quickly and he did just that, hitting his fifth four and winning the match with successive sixes, the first bringing him his fourth 50 in six innings and a world-record eighth in T20 cricket this year.

Oman were the first team in Group B to confirm their place in the play-offs last night with victory over Canada but their eight-wicket win in the 15th over, chasing 145, was bad news for Ireland's hopes of topping the group and going straight through to the finals. Oman have a run rate of 0.64 runs better than Ireland, who are now second.

JERSEY

H Carlyon c O'Brien b Adair 0 (4)

N Greenwood b D Delany 15 (15)

B Stevens c G Delany b Young 25 (25)

J Jenner lbw b Adair 0 (2)

J Dunford c Balbirnie b D Delany 0 (1)

B Ward c sub b Dockrell 12 (21)

D Blampied c Wilson b Adair 20 (25)

C Bisson st Wilson b G Delany 1 (3)

A Hawkins-Kay run out 10 (10)

C Perchard c and b Rankin 8 (10)

E Miles not out 5 (4)

Extras (7lb 2w) 9

Total (20 overs) 105

Fall: 1-0 2-36 3-37 4-48 5-49 6-67 7-71 8-85 9-99

Bowling: M Adair 4-1-10-3, B Rankin 4-0-30-1, G Delany 4-0-19-1, D Delany 2.3-0-12-2, C Young 3-0-11-1, G Dockrell 2.3-0-16-1

IRELAND

P Stirling not out 58 (37)

K O'Brien c Hawkins-Kay b Perchard 11 (13)

A Balbirnie c Hawkins-Kay b Blampied 33 (27)

G Delany not out 8 (7)

Total (2 wkts, 14 overs) 110

Did not bat: H Tector, G Wilson, M Adair, G Dockrell, D Delany, C Young, B Rankin.

Fall: 1-35 2-82

Bowling: E Miles 2-0-18-0, C Perchard 3-0-16-1, D Blampied 4-0-31-1, B Ward 3-0-24-0, B Stevens 1-0-10-0, A Hawkins-Kay 1-0-11-0

Ireland won by eight wickets

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