Huge day for cricket in Ireland: Balbirnie elated after win over South Africa

Filed on July 14, 2021
Ireland players celebrate after beating South Africa. (ICC Twitter)

Balbirnie scored a hundred as his side beat South Africa for the first time in a one-day international

Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie said the team's stunning 43-run win over South Africa in the one-day match on Tuesday was a 'huge day for cricket in Ireland'.

Balbirnie led from the front with a hundred as his side beat South Africa for the first time in a one-day international at Malahide on Tuesday.

Balbirnie's 102, his seventh hundred at this level, was the centrepiece of Ireland's 290-5.

South Africa could only manage 247 all out in reply as the hosts took an unassailable 1-0 lead in a series reduced to two matches following Sunday's washout, although the Proteas can square the campaign by winning on Friday.

"Extremely proud. Put in on a greenish wicket. It was a tough wicket to take wickets on. It was a win we needed as a team. Really proud of the lads," Balbirnie said after the match on Tuesday.

"We outfielded them, which made the difference. We need such efforts to beat these nations. Huge day for cricket in Ireland. We are hungry to win the series."

Ireland's victory also gave them 10 points in the World Cup Super League, which will qualify teams for the 2023 50-over showpiece in India.

Ireland white-ball wins over established Test nations, once restricted to World Cups, are no longer the shocks of old with Tuesday's triumph following a defeat of England in Southampton last year.

Balbirnie, opening the innings, batted until the 42nd over before Harry Tector added impetus with a dashing 79 off 68 balls, which included six fours and four sixes.

Tector and George Dockrell (45) boosted the total with a fourth-wicket stand of 90.

South Africa did not help themselves by dropping four catches, with Balbirnie reprieved on 74.

They also rested star batsman Quinton de Kock for a second successive match and left out fast bowler Lungi Ngidi.

Janneman Malan (84) and Rassie van der Dussen (49) shared a 108-run stand but the Proteas' innings fell away after the pair were dismissed within eight balls of each other.

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