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Match Report – CAN vs IRE 13th Match, Group A, June 07, 2024


Canada 137 for 7 (Kirton 49, Movva 37, McCarthy 2-24, Young 2-32) beat Ireland 125 for 7 (Adair 34, Dockrell 30*, Gordon 2-16, Heyliger 2-18) by 12 runs

The Associate has struck twice in two days. Group C and D might have been the groups of death leading up to the T20 World Cup 2024 but for the moment the blockbuster results are coming out of Group A. After Pakistan shocked USA in Dallas on Thursday, it was Canada’s turn to stun a Full Member side on Friday as they beat Ireland by 12 runs in New York to record their first-ever T20 World Cup win.

The focus was all on the surface in New York and while Canada found the going tough early on, Nicholas Kirton and Shreyas Movva steadied the ship to take them to 137 for 7 in their 20 overs. This was the first time in five innings that a team had managed to breach the 100-run mark in New York this World Cup. And it proved to be enough.

The Canada bowlers were all over the Ireland batters in the chase. They did not let them get away in the powerplay before Junaid Siddiqui and Saad Bin Zafar applied the squeeze in the middle overs. When Ireland slipped to 59 for 6 in the 13th over, it seemed all but over for them. Mark Adair and George Dockrell resurrected the Irish innings and put on 62 for the seventh wicket, but Jeremy Gordon and Dilon Heyliger held their own at the death to deliver Canada a famous win. Ireland were restricted to 125 for 7 and have now lost two in two.

Gordon helps Canada take powerplay honours

On an uneven surface and a sluggish outfield, a chase of 138 was always going to be a tricky ask. Canada’s defence did not get off to the best of starts with Kaleem Sana unable to control the early movement. But Gordon understood the lengths to bowl on the surface from the get-go and the rest of the bowlers followed suit. Ireland could only manage two fours in the first six overs – one in the first over and one in the sixth. In between, there were plenty of swishes and misses from Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie and hardly any decent connections.

Gordon’s relentless lengths got the better of Stirling in the final over of the powerplay when he could only manage a top edge on his attempted heave with the wicketkeeper taking a comfortable catch. He fell for an uncharacteristic 9 off 17 and Ireland’s innings went downhill thereon.

Ireland slip, slide and stumble

It was complete Canadian domination in the next seven overs or so with Ireland unable to understand how to go about the chase. Saad and Siddiqui attacked the stumps, hardly giving the batters anything to work with: 33 of the 48 balls they bowled finished on a wicket-to-wicket line, according to ESPNcricinfo’s data. The surface seemed to slow up a touch in the second half and the two spinners made sure to take full toll.

Balbirnie fell second ball after the powerplay, caught and bowled by Siddiqui. Saad struck next with a straight ball that breached Harry Tector’s defences. Lorcan Tucker inexplicably ran himself out in the 10th over before Heyliger sent back Curtis Campher with a little help from Aaron Johnson, who took a lovely catch at deep backward square leg diving to his left. And when Gareth Delany fell in the 13th over with the Ireland score on 59, an early finish was on the cards.

Adair, Dockrell give Ireland hope but Canada prevail

With the equation reading 64 off 30 after 15 overs and only four wickets in hand, Ireland needed nothing short of a miracle to pull this off. Dockrell gave Ireland a chance when he bashed Siddiqui for a four and six in the 16th over before Adair produced a similar result against Sana in the next. Heyliger, however, kept his cool to only concede eight runs in the 18th over.

Sana’s 19th went for 11, which meant Gordon had 16 runs to defend in the final over. And he did it expertly. There were no full balls, only the hard-length stuff and there was nothing Adair could do. He played and missed the first ball and top-edged the next. Barry McCarthy came in and hacked across the line three times, but couldn’t get much out of it.

And when Dockrell mistimed his heave to long-on off the final ball, celebrations began in the Canada dugout. This was just the third time Canada had beaten Ireland in T20Is. They are the only Full Member team they have beaten in the format.

Ireland put Canada in early trouble

Earlier, it seemed like a good toss to win for Ireland with their bowlers finding movement and carry. Adair had Navneet Dhaliwal caught at backward point before Craig Young sent back Aaron Johnson, caught at deep backward square leg. Canada hit six fours in the powerplay but a lack of strike rotation meant they could only reach 37 for 2 after the first six.

Young struck straight after the powerplay, too, sending back Pargat Singh, before Delany had Dilpreet Bajwa caught and bowled with Canada’s score after 8.1 overs reading 53 for 4.

Kirton and Movva make the move

Kirton has been in excellent T20I form of late. He had scored a fifty against Nepal in Canada’s warm-up game and another one against USA in the World Cup opener. And he started in a similar vein in New York. Alongside Movva, he first steadied the Canada innings and then went big in the final five.

There was a distinct Caribbean flair to the Barbados-born Kirton’s strokeplay. He took on Young, Ireland’s most successful bowler up to the point, smashing him for two sixes and a four in the 16th over. Movva also kept chugging along with the duo adding 75 runs for the fifth wicket off 63 balls. Kirton fell one short of another half-century but Movva stayed right till the last ball and Canada posted the highest score in New York this T20 World Cup.

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo



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