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T20 World Cup: Canada prevail over Ireland by 12 runs in last-over thriller

New York, June 7: A day after the United States stunned Pakistan, their neighbours Canada caused an upset in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, beating another full-member Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium here on Friday. Canada held their nerve with the ball as the Group fixture came down to the final over, beating Ireland to record their first-ever ICC T20 World Cup win. Propped up by a 75-run stand for the fifth wicket between Nicholas Kirton and Shreyas Movva, Canada posted a modest 137-7 and then came up with disciplined bowling to beat Ireland by 12 runs in a low-scoring match, recovering from their defeat to the United States on the opening night on June 1 in Dallas.

Ireland too had lost their opening match, going down to India in New York. Canada’s men’s cricket team only had one previous win over a full-member nation to their name (against Ireland in 2019), but were the better team in all three disciplines as they produced another shock result in a group that has thrown up plenty of drama already at this tournament. Coming a day after their southern neighbours USA had stunned Pakistan, Canada rode on the brilliant partnership between Kirton and Movva to post the highest score on this ground in three tournament matches.

Ireland won the toss and asked Canada to bat first, but were soon in trouble, losing opener Navneet Dhaliwal (8) for 12 runs. Kirton blasted a 35-ball 49, hitting three boundaries and two maximums, while Movva struck a 36-ball 37, studded with three fours, as they shared a 75-run partnership, which is Canada’s highest partnership for the 5th wicket in T20Is, breaking the record of 54 between skipper Saad Bin Zafar and Pargat Singh. Aaron Johnson scored 14 while Pargat Singh contributed 18 as they posted a modest 137/7 in 20 overs. And it was Craig Young, coming into the side as an additional seam option, who took two wickets as Ireland kept Canada pegged back through the first half of the innings. Young and Mark Adair kept things extremely tidy, with Gareth Delany also picking up a wicket with a superb caught-and-bowled to reduce Canada to 53/4.

Canada were able to find the boundary with regularity, threatening the highest score on a ground where runs have been at a premium. But some excellent death bowling from Ireland ensured the required total didn’t get completely out of hand, with Barry McCarthy taking two wickets for two runs in the penultimate over to take the sting out of Canada’s tail. And the Canada bowling unit stood up to deny Ireland, taking seven wickets and surviving a late onslaught to take the win. Chasing 138, Ireland lost half of their squad for 53 runs halfway through the match and were down to 59/6 with Gareth Delany getting out. Paul Stirling was out for nine to Jeremy Gordon.

Lorcan Tucker was run out for 10 while Harry Tector fell to Saad Bin Zafar for seven and Curtin Campher was out for four. George Dockrell (30 not out) and Mark Adair (34) mounted a brilliant fightback and took the match to the final over needing 17 from six deliveries. But Mark Adair scored three boundaries and one six off 24 balls and was out to Jeremy Gordon off the second delivery. Their chase ended after that as they fell short by 12 runs. Gordon, who finished with 2-16, and Dilon Heyliger (2-18) were the successful bowlers for Canada. Brief scores: Canada 137/7 in 20 overs (Nicholas Kirton 49, Shreyas Movva 37; Craig Young 2-32, Barry McCarthy 2-24) beat Ireland 125/7 in 20 overs (George Dockrell 30 not out, Mark Adair 34; Jeremy Gordon 2-16, Dilon Heyliger 2-18) by 12 runs.

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