Ireland completed one of their greatest victories and ended 15 years of hurt yesterday when they defeated South Africa in the second World Cup Super League game in Malahide.
It was the first time Ireland had beaten a top-eight side at home, since their first one-day international in 2006, and captain Andrew Balbirnie is now targeting a series win when the teams meet for the third and final game on Friday.
“We now have our first win against South Africa and it would be unprecedented to get a series win,” said Balbirnie. “A one-off win is great but to win the series is so important.”
The 10 points for the win moves Ireland up to fifth place in the World Cup table – the top eight from the 13 teams qualify automatically for the next finals in India in 2023 – although they have played more games than the teams below them.
Balbirnie led from the front with the bat, scoring his seventh one-day international century, but even after he was out, Harry Tector and George Dockrell added 90 in the last eight overs as Ireland finished on 290 for five.
The Ireland bowlers then finished the job, taking the last eight South Africa wickets for 88 to claim a 43-run victory, their first anywhere against the Proteas.
South Africa captain Temba Bavuma did not mince his words: “They got 100 in the last 10 overs which was criminal from us, our fielding versus their fielding was chalk and cheese and there was nothing meaningful from us with the bat. We were totally outplayed and need to come back.”