Hiral Patel inspires Canada win
Canada 176 for 3 (Patel 88*, Botha 3-35) beat Ireland 172 for 8 (O'Brien 50, Bhatti 3-26) by four runs
Hiral Patel, the 18-year-old Canada opener, produced a sensational display on debut to set up victory for Canada over Ireland in the Associates Twenty20 Series at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.
The tournament is a warm-up for the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers which take place next week and today's upset will be a boon for Canada going into the tournament. When Ireland captain William Porterfield won the toss and chose to field first, he would not have banked response he received from Canada's openers.
Patel and Rizwan Cheema calmly worked their way to 68 inside the first ten overs before Cheema was castled by the impressive Andre Botha. Yet, far from inspiring the collapse which happens to many inexperienced teams after a good start, Patel was joined by skipper Ashish Bagai and the two ran amok. Their 101-run partnership lasted almost the duration remaining overs and took the total to an impressive 169 when Bagai was defeated by Botha in the final over for 42. Patel ended unbeaten on 88 from 61 deliveries and will be one to watch in the qualifiers.
Given their experience, Ireland would still have backed themselves to chase down the total and openers Porterfield and Niall O'Brien started brightly, bringing up the 50 inside five overs before Porterfield departed for 19. It brought promising 19-year-old Paul Stirling to the crease, fresh on the back of his escapades in the Under-19 World Cup, and he once again signalled his talent, dominating a 39-run second-wicket stand. With Ireland well set on 90 for 1 inside the first ten overs, Stirling's dismissal sparked a mini-collapse and by the time O'Brien was dismissed, after completing his first Twenty20 International fifty, Ireland had slipped to 105 for four.
A 35-run partnership between Gary Wilson and Botha kept Ireland in the hunt before the game took decisive turn in the 17th over. Umar Bhatti picked up two wickets and there was a run out in the over, leaving Ireland tottering at 143 for 7 with three overs to go. Andy White and John Mooney reduced the ask to 12 from the final over but Mooney was run out on the fourth ball and after White added a single, Gary Kidd was unable to become an instant hero by hitting the final ball for a winning six.