Belfast Telegraph

Cricket: Mooney is the saving grace for dismal Ireland against Canada

By Ian Callender

It needed 47 from 55 balls by in-form John Mooney to rescue a wasteful Irish innings in the first one-day international against Canada in Toronto last night.

After a three and a half hours delay, Ireland reached 175 for nine in their 35 overs, setting their hosts a run-rate of exactly five runs an over for a surprise win.

The Irish have enjoyed comfortable victories in recent matches between the sides, the latest by five wickets in the World League in Holland in July. Andrew Balbirnie opened that day for Ireland but his replacement last night was much more experienced — the little matter of 130 games more experienced.

For the first time in his nine-year career, Andre Botha was asked to open, after Rory McCann’s travails during last week’s four-day game at the top of the order.

Surprisingly it was Botha who was the more authoritive at the start of the innings, helping himself to four boundaries while Paul Stirling, the regular opener, could not get anything but singles. It couldn’t last — and it didn’t.

After scoring six runs from 20 balls he launched himself with a four through the covers, then one over the slips. By the time he powered one through mid-off, he had lost Botha, bowled by a beauty from Khorrum Chohan, again Canada’s best bowler.

A number of batsmen made impressive starts before giving their wicket away when set.

Trent Johnston, back at the crease for the first time since being hit in the eye by Henry Osinde was dismissed the ball after receiving a fresh plaster. He faced two balls from Osinde and took two singles.

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