Sunday 25 February 2018

Cricket: Joyce stars as Ireland settle score with Kenya

ED JOYCE hit three sixes in a superb 88 as Ireland eased to a 117-run victory over Kenya yesterday in the second of a double-header of World Cup qualifying matches in Mombasa.

Ireland were facing a similar scenario to Saturday's upset defeat when they slumped to 76-4 in the early exchanges, but this time Joyce steadied the ship with a 124-ball innings that equalled his best score since returning to national colours after a spell with England.

On another sweltering day on the east coast of Africa, Joyce started hesitantly, nudging six singles from 26 balls before opening up with the first of his five fours.

Ireland benefited from 10 penalty runs when the ball hit the fielding helmet not once but twice, and Joyce looked to be heading for his third century for his country before he chipped a simple catch to mid-wicket.

Kevin O'Brien and Andrew White played valuable support roles in partnerships of 50 and 83, and in the final onslaught John Mooney blazed 23 not out from only 14 balls to lift the visiting side to 237-9 from 50 overs.

Veteran Trent Johnston followed up with two wickets in his opening spell and when Alex Cusack also struck twice in his first three overs Kenya were 37-5 and effectively beaten.

After spinners George Dockrell and Paul Stirling had also taken two wickets apiece Kenya were dismissed for 120 in the 36th over.

The victory cements Ireland's position at the top of the eight-team World Cricket League Championship with five wins from six. Ireland will wrap up their stay in Mombasa with three Twenty20 matches against Kenya, starting tomorrow, before the squad move on to a training camp in South Africa.

Meanwhile, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting could be set to call time on his international career after his axing from the one-day side yesterday.

Irish Independent

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