Ireland on Wednesday announced their squad for the two T20Is against South Africa as well as the first three games of the five-match series against Afghanistan in August 2022.
The selectors have kept faith in the group that played the three-match T20I series against New Zealand recently by retaining the same 14-member squad for the upcoming series against South Africa (two matches) and Afghanistan (three of the five matches).
Despite being whitewashed 3-0 at home by New Zealand, there were several positives for Ireland, including the lower-order batting form of Mark Adair and Curtis Campher. Paul Stirling gave yet another glimpse of his white-ball exploits with a 29-ball 40 in the final T20I, the ICC reported.
Amongst the bowlers, Josh Little finished as the highest wicket-taker in the series with eight wickets in three games including a four-for in the second T20I.
Squad: Andrew Balbirnie (Captain), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Stephen Doheny, Fionn Hand, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young
Speaking on the squad selection, Chair of National Men’s Selectors Andrew White said: “We are now getting down to the final stages of our preparations as we build towards the Men’s T20 World Cup in October.
“The squad has faced two high-quality opponents in recent weeks, in India and New Zealand, and have stern tests ahead against South Africa and Afghanistan.
“We believe, while the results have not gone our way, the brand of cricket that [head coach] Heinrich Malan is instilling in the squad is showing positive signs and the players are beginning to equip themselves well as they build towards the World Cup in Australia.
“We have, however, sought to give ourselves a level of selection flexibility later in the Afghan series, and will announce a squad for the final two T20Is of that series in due course.”
The upcoming series against South Africa and Afghanistan will be the dress rehearsal for Ireland going into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup later this year. After failing to make it to the Super 12 last year in Oman and UAE, Ireland will be eager to make a mark later this year in Australia.
This year, they are pitted against Scotland, West Indies and Zimbabwe in Group B in the First Round that begins on 16 October.
Qatar eliminated from World Cup after Netherlands and Ecuador draw
Qatar became the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup on Friday after Group A rivals the Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1.
The Dutch and Ecuador each have four points, Senegal have three. Qatar are without a point after they lost their opening game 2-0 to Ecuador and then went down 3-1 to Senegal earlier on Friday.
“If you expected us to go very far in this tournament, then it will be a disappointment,” Qatar coach Félix Sánchez said before his team was officially out. “Our goal was to be competitive.”
Ibrahim Zadran slams century as Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka by 60 runs in 1st ODI
Afghanistan defeated hosts Sri Lanka by 60 runs in the first One-Day International (ODI) on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Batting first after winning the toss, Afghanistan posted 294-8 as they played all the mandated 50 overs at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Ibrahim Zadran scored 106 off 120 balls, including 11 fours. Rahmanullah Gurbaz followed with 53 while Rahmat Shah made 52. Najibullah Zadran contributed with 42 off 25 balls.
Chasing the 295-run target, Sri Lanka were all out after 38 overs.
Opener Pathum Nissanka was their highest scorer with 85. Wanindu Hasaranga de Sliva made 66.
Fazalhaq Farooqi was the pick of the bowlers for Afghanistan as he claimed four wickets. Gulbadin Naib followed with three wickets. Yamin Ahmadzai took two while Rashid Khan picked up one.
The sides will meet for their second ODI on Sunday.
Ronaldo breaks record as Portugal up and running with Ghana win
Cristiano Ronaldo drew a line under a tumultuous tournament build-up as he wrote his name in the record books to become the first man to score in five World Cups in a 3-2 victory for Portugal over Ghana on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Ronaldo drilled home a penalty in the 65th minute of the Group H encounter to set his side on their way and while Andre Ayew equalised for Ghana, Portugal turned on the afterburners with two quick-fire goals to effectively seal the deal at Stadium 974.
According to Reuters Joao Felix produced a delicate finish to give them the lead and Rafael Leao added a third to hand Portugal their first win in the opening match of the World Cup since 2006, even if Osman Bukari pulled another one back for Ghana late on.
The win was not the most convincing for Portugal, and will come as some relief for Fernando Santos’s side, who top the group with three points and next face Uruguay on Monday, when Ghana play South Korea.
For all Portugal’s enterprising attacking play and the goalscoring performances of Felix and Leao, it was Ronaldo who once again showed his unparalleled ability to draw the limelight.
“I think Cristiano is a phenomenon, a legend… in 50 years’ time, we will still be talking about him,” Santos said.
The bitter end to Ronaldo’s second spell at Manchester United had dominated the build-up to the match in much the same way the forward seems to dominate the way Portugal play, read the report.
Against Ghana, Ronaldo seemed to exert a planetary gravitational pull on the ball, with team mates seeking him out at every opportunity.
For vast swathes of the match, everything revolved around Ronaldo, who lurked threateningly on the edge of the Ghana box, with almost all his side’s attacking moves ending up at his feet.
He had two early chances, a one-on-one when a heavy touch let him down, and a header where he typically hovered in the air before glancing his effort wide.
He then smacked the ball in the back of the net after 31 minutes only to realise the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul.
For Ghana, the youngest squad at the World Cup, their early ambitions rarely stretched beyond the halfway line as the lowest-ranked side in the tournament set about keeping almost everyone behind the ball at all times in the first half, Reuters reported.
Most of the action was condensed into a relatively short period after the 60th minute with Portugal taking the lead when awarded a soft penalty after Ronaldo went down following minimal shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Mohammed Salisu.
Ronaldo closed his eyes as he waited to begin his run up, stuttered and smashed the ball into the net to the keeper’s right.
The entire Portugal team raced down the touchline to pile on top of the 37-year-old, who surpassed Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose as the only player to find the net in five separate men’s World Cups.
It is the 10th consecutive major tournament in which Ronaldo has found the net although Ghana coach Otto Addo was not in the mood to be charitable.
“It was the wrong decision… It was actually a foul against us,” he said of the penalty award.
“If somebody scores a goal, congratulations. But this was a gift. A special gift from the referee.”
As it was, his Ghana side fired back quickly when Mohammed Kudus’s cross bobbled its way through a defender’s legs to Ayew who tapped home.
Portugal, however, then revved into gear with Felix latching onto a Bruno Fernandes throughball and lifting his finish nonchalantly over the keeper, read the report.
Fernandes was the architect of their third goal too, playing another superb throughball for substitute Leao to slide his finish across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
There was tension at the end, however, as Ghana pulled another goal back with Osman Bukari, appearing unmarked in the box, heading in a cross from the left in the 89th minute, giving a sliver of hope to Ghana’s fans behind that goal.
There was to be no fairytale ending for the Ghanaians though and the night belonged to Ronaldo.
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