Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Balbirnie, McBrine roar for Wolves


By Ian Callender

Andrew Balbirnie and Andy McBrine posted their highest List A scores as Ireland Wolves stormed to an eight-wicket victory to share the 50-over series with Bangladesh A 2-2.

Balbirnie was not even due to play at Castle Avenue yesterday, but an injury to James McCollum - who has ruled himself out of Waringstown's Irish Cup semi-final tomorrow - allowed him back into the side, and he batted through the innings to take Ireland to their victory target of 284 with 20 balls to spare.

Ireland's regular No.3 has scored a double century in the Intercontinental Cup but, before yesterday, 129 had been his highest in white-ball cricket. After facing 144 balls, he finished 160 not out with 18 fours and two sixes.

His second-wicket partnership with McBrine - promoted to No.3 - was 196, with the North West Warriors skipper scoring 89 from 103 balls with nine fours.

Although McBrine drove straight to mid-on in the 40th over, the Wolves were just 55 runs from victory, and Simi Singh kept Balbirnie company as he finished in style.

The only disappointment was the early dismissal of James Shannon (4), caught at mid-off.

On a much slower pitch than the runs feast at Milverton on Wednesday, Bangladesh were probably satisfied with 283-8 at halfway, although it would have been more but for Peter Chase taking 5-42, his best figures in an Ireland shirt.

The pace bowler struck in his first two overs and then, crucially, with the fifth ball of his second spell he had captain Mominul Haque caught at short mid-wicket for 46 - 136 runs fewer than he made on Wednesday.

Graham Kennedy, a surprise choice to open the bowling, also bowled the last two overs, and Singh and JJ Garth were the other wicket-takers.

SCORES: Bangladesh A 283-8 (50 overs, Fazle Mahmud 74, Mohammad Mithin 73, Mominui Haque 46; P Chase 5-42) Ireland Wolves 285-2 (46.4 overs, A Balbirnie 160 not out, A McBrine 89, S Singh 20 not out). Ireland Wolves won by eight wickets

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