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Cricket: A Stirling effort in Toronto sees new Ireland record of 177

Paul Stirling produced a batting masterclass at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club yesterday to compile Ireland’s highest ever score in a one-day international.

The prodigiously talented 20 year old — his birthday was last Friday — scored 177 as Ireland piled up their best ever total in ODIs of 325 for eight against Canada, who had won the first one-day international between the teams on Monday by six wickets.

Stirling had every record in the book in his sights including the ultimate, Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI best of 200, after bringing up his first ODI century in just 97 balls. His next 77 came off just 36 balls as he added four sixes and nine fours to his 13 boundaries in reaching three figures.

But, with still 32 balls left in the innings, he attempted to cut Harvir Baidwan and only got a top edge, which landed in the hands of Ruvindu Gunasekera at backward point. There was more than a hint of irony that Gunasekera took the catch because 163 Stirling runs earlier he had put down the dolliest of catches off the opening batsman at long leg.

His reprieve, however, allowed the smattering of spectators on a sunny, humid morning to witness something really special.

When Stirling reached 143 he passed Kevin O’Brien’s previous best Ireland individual score in an ODI.

The last time, Ireland scored 300 they lost! This time Canada have scored 112 for two off 23 overs.

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