Saturday 17 February 2018

Joyce falls agonisingly short

ED JOYCE led Ireland to within a whisker of levelling their RSA T20 international series with Bangladesh last night as the home side fell short by just one run in a thrilling finish in Belfast yesterday.

As Joyce guided Ireland closer and closer to the visitors' 146-6 with a fine innings of 41, the excitement was such that the Stormont scoreboard blew a fuse and the crowd had to be informed by loudspeaker that 10 runs were required from the final over.

Hopes of avenging Wednesday's opening-game defeat were high, but first Andrew Poynter and then Joyce himself lofted catches to long-on and Trent Johnston's six from the final ball -- the only maximum of the innings -- only took Ireland to 145-6.

The home side had control of the game as they restricted Bangladesh to 106-4 after 17 overs with Johnston, George Dockrell and Kevin O'Brien all bowling economical four-over spells.

But with paceman Boyd Rankin having to pull out of the starting line-up with a last-minute injury, Bangladesh were able to inflict a heavy toll in the final three overs, adding a momentum-turning 40 runs.

A target of a little over seven an over looked well within Ireland's compass as first Paul Stirling stroked 26 from 20 balls and then Gary Wilson joined Joyce to add 55 for the third wicket.

Alas, the Surrey wicketkeeper was stumped for an excellent 37 from 27 balls with Ireland still needing 43 to win from five overs, and Joyce just failed to prevent Bangladesh grabbing a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Irish Independent

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