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May 31, 2012
Ireland A 230 and 414 for 5 (Balbirnie 148*, Thompson 93) beat Gloucestershire 2nd XI 494 for 5 dec and 146 for 8 dec by five wickets
Ireland A produced a miraculous fightback to beat Gloucestershire 2nd XI at Bath. They chased 411 to win in 92 overs on the final day.
With the wicket taking an increasing amount of spin and Ireland A 98 for 3, any chance of victory looked remote. But Andrew Balbirnie played a match-winning innings, striking 19 fours in a 201-ball knock. He added 178 for the fourth wicket with Stuart Thompson, who hit 14 boundaries of his own for a 122-ball 93 but he was dismissed with135 still required to win.
John Anderson - who made a first-innings 72 - arrived at the crease and he and Balbirnie added a further 79 but it was left to Balbirnie to take his side to the target.
"We knew it was a flat pitch and if you got in, then you could score quickly," Balbirnie said. "I had a bit of luck early on but as the innings progressed I got more confident and started to hit the ball cleanly. We knew we had to build partnerships and that was the key to the win. Stuart Thompson played superbly, and that was a great knock from John Anderson when things could have gone wrong."
Balbirnie had already scored a century against Gloucestershire 2nd XI, having made 100 not out at Bristol last season playing for Middlesex second XI. He also played in the World Cricket League in the Netherlands in 2010.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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