T20 torment continues as batsmen flop
Ireland's dismal run in the shortest format was extended yesterday in Abu Dhabi. In their opening game in the Desert T20 tournament, Ireland went down to top-ranked Afghanistan by five wickets with eight balls to spare.
That was despite a spirited display by Ireland's bowlers, who were let down again by the batsmen.
Ireland's total of 125-6 was never likely to be enough, with Paul Stirling (25) and Gary Wilson (23) the top-scorers in an innings in which just 13 fours and no sixes were hit.
The Afghans paced their innings perfectly, with only spinners George Dockrell (1-19) and Jacob Mulder (2-23), and 17-year-old paceman Josh Little, causing any tremors as the Asian side coasted to victory in the Middle East.
Ireland play Namibia on Tuesday and hosts UAE on Wednesday, and coach John Bracewell will be hoping for a better display from his misfiring batters, who rarely got above a run-a-ball.
Meanwhile, half-centuries from Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington laid the platform for Scotland's 24-run victory over Hong Kong in the opening match of the Desert T20 Challenge.
After winning the toss and batting first in Abu Dhabi, Scotland were indebted to a 127-run stand between MacLeod (60) and Berrington (60 not out) as they posted an impressive enough 189-3.
Hong Kong slumped to 50-4 in their run chase, and although Shahid Wasif (40) and Ehsan Khan (42 not out) led a recovery, they fell well short of their target on 165-6.
Scotland will aim to take a big step towards the semi-finals when they play the Netherlands on Tuesday in their second Group B match.
In women's cricket Ireland's Kim Garth yesterday continued her excellent start for Sydney Sixers in the professional Women's Big Bash League. The 20-year-old had debuted against Hobart Hurricanes on Friday and yesterday appeared in front of almost 40,000 people at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the derby against Sydney Thunder.
Garth was out first ball, but her bowling was superb, her four overs costing just 17 and picking up the wicket of opposition captain Alex Blackwell. With the game tied at 138 apiece, the Dubliner was entrusted with the 'super over', which cost just eight runs.
When that ended tied as well, the Sixers were adjudged losers because of hitting fewer boundaries during the 20-over innings.
There should be no surprise at the rapid progress of the 79-times capped all-rounder. Uniquely in Irish sport, she is the thoroughbred daughter of two internationals - mum Anne-Marie McDonald won 12 caps and dad Johnny Garth 26, both in the late 1980s. Garth was also capped as a rugby sevens player.
Garth will join up with the Ireland team for the ICC Women's World Cup qualifier which kicks off on February 7 in Sri Lanka.
Sunday Indo Sport