Stirling assault blows away Canada
Ireland 325 for 8 (Stirling 177, Hansra 3-27) beat Canada 233 (Gunasekera 59, van der Merwe 5-49) by 92 runs
Paul Stirling, the 20-year-old Ireland opener, played the innings of his life, smashing 177 from 134 deliveries to set up an easy win over Canada and tie the two-match ODI series in Toronto.
Put in to bat, Ireland were given a strong start by Stirling and Andre Botha who added 91 in 12.4 overs. Stirling began hitting out in the third over, lofting and driving Harvir Baidwan for fours. He took medium-pacer Khurram Chohan's fourth over for 14 runs, smashing him over long-on for six and then pulling and steering him for consecutive fours. He reached his fifty off 38 balls in the 12th over, guiding Balaji Rao behind point for four. Botha was dismissed in the next over for 28 and Canada managed to briefly rein in the scoring.
Andrew Poynter and Stirling added 73 in 18.2 overs and by the time Poynter was dismissed, Stirling had moved to 96 off 90. A single off Chohan in the 34th over brought up his maiden List A hundred off 97 balls.
Stirling warmed up for the Batting Powerplay by taking 14 runs in an over off left-arm spinner Parth Desai. Fifty-three runs came in the Powerplay, 38 of those from Stirling. Desai, who had bowled well in taking 1 for 31 in seven overs, went for 46 runs in his next three. With Stirling on 174 at the end of the 44th over, Sachin Tendulkar's record ODI score was in some danger. However, Stirling hit a Baidwan full toss straight to point in the 45th over, after having struck 21 fours and five sixes. John Mooney's late hitting took Ireland to an imposing 325.
Canada rarely looked like keeping up with the asking rate, especially after being reduced to 34 for 2 in the eighth over. Despite a 79-run third-wicket stand between Ruvindu Gunasekera and captain Ashish Bagai, the run-rate hovered around five throughout the innings. Gunasekera top-scored again with 59 off 60 but he fell in the 24th over. Bagai followed in the 30th to make it 142 for 5, after which Canada needed a miracle.
It wasn't happening though, as offspinner Albert van der Merwe came up with a career-best performance of 5 for 49 and Canada were bowled out in the 47th over. Stirling was the deserving Player of the Match.