Super Over heroes Craig Young, Kevin O'Brien and Harry Tector reflect on a nail-biting win over Afghanistan as they clinched a consolation win in the T20 Tri-Series.
"Andrew Balbirnie told me pretty soon after we got off the field that I was in bowling the Super Over. I can’t say a whole lot was going through my mind, I was trying to keep it as simple as possible. I spoke with Rob Cassell, Kevin O'Brien and Balbo and we come up with a with a relatively easy enough plan.
"The wicket had been taking slower balls, so that's what I wanted to bowl the majority of, and slip the odd yorker in there. I wanted to really stay out of their arc, and with the dimensions of the ground, that helped a little bit as well.
"But I was pretty clear-minded – Bally’s pretty good like that, he just lets you get on with it, but it's always nice to have the lads on had for second opinions on things, which has been great the whole series and the win was just a little icing on the cake."
“I don’t really bowl as much in the powerplay at the minute, it’s something I want to work as I want to take on responsibility and get stuck in at what is a really difficult time to bowl. If I’m needed I want to ensure I step up and try and do it. At the moment it has been nice to come on when the field is spread and enjoy that little bit of security and implement my slower balls that I have been working on and trying to bowl to set fields.
"The batters - as they were in the West Indies - have been good at relaying information about how the wickets playing and what are the hardest balls to play, which was all helping the bowling unit.
“I think the most pleasing aspect of the squad’s performance this series was that it was nice to back up how we played in the West Indies – it was nice to go out and beat the world champions, yes, but it wouldn’t have been as nice if we came here and got beat 3-0. The Afghans hit a massive ball, they hit the ball a mile and they don't die wondering – they really play hard cricket with both bat and ball – so it was nice to come here with a young squad and get a win against such experienced guys as Nabi and Rashid.
“On the bowling front it’s also nice to sign-off a bit for Cass – he’s instilled a great belief in all the bowlers – and the batters as well – but all the boys have benefited from him being here, and he definitely has given a lot of guys confidence, and he’s been absolutely brilliant to have around. It’s a great way to sign-off for him, and I wish him all the best.”
“We didn’t discuss too much about the final ball– just for him to get bat on ball and no matter what we run for two at the very least. If he couldn’t hit it for a four or six, we wanted to bring it back to force a Super Over. We both were pretty calm out there and he was certainly clear about what he was trying to do. Fortunately, he connected on that last ball.
“It was a good series – I don’t think the scoreline accurately reflects how close the two teams were. I feel the ending of the third game could have easily played out in the first game of the series, and that would have made a completely different feel about this tour.
“I think the way we’ve played here in India, particularly with the bat, is getting closer to the way we want to play as a team – which is an absolute positive. There are areas we obviously still want to improve on – particularly in those last five or six overs, to concentrate on clearing the ropes more. It will come though, particularly with our middle-order where me, Gareth and Lorcan - we’re all under the age of 24 and still learning what works best for us, but I think from a team perspective getting that win in the last match was really deserved and gives the whole series a sweeter feeling to it.
“It was pleasing that I was able to bring in my form from the Ireland Wolves tour, I felt in good touch and felt I had a good game plan going into this series. I had never faced Rashid before, so I talked a lot with other batters, particularly with Andrew Balbirnie to come up with a plan to play him – and it came off to a degree.
“I was able to do well across the three games and, in the end, was able to contribute to a win, which was great. Whenever I go out I just want to score runs and help Ireland win games, and my goal here was to be consistent across the three games - I think I achieved that, so it’s now up to me to continue this form into the next series.”
"It was obviously a great way to end the series and particularly pleasing to beat Afghanistan after such a long time. While the the positive thing was getting the win, maybe more important was the way we improved as a squad from game one to game three - especially the bowling unit who collectively assessed conditions and adjusted their game plans to opposition batters accordingly.
“Gareth Delany bowled really well yesterday, Craig Young was incredible in the Super Over restricting them to 8 runs, and Barry McCarthy coming in after being sick for a couple of days bowled really well – their consistency kept Afghanistan to 142 and got it to the Super Over.”
“I backed away, and once I saw Rashid throw a bit of air and flight onto it, I swung as hard as I could. I actually didn’t think I had hit it far enough, I thought it was going to be caught on the rope, but luckily it just crept over. So obviously I was very fortunate to get enough bat on it and get it over the rope for six. It was pre-meditated to back away and try get it on the half-volley, then to hit is as hard as I could.
“I think the young guys stepping up has been the most pleasing thing of all. Harry Tector has played really well throughout the series, Gareth has bowled well in a couple of games and got 37 there in the last game, so that’s pleasing for him to score against a very good side – to show that he can play at this high level.
“Craig Young has bowled well in the last six T20s especially – the three in the West Indies and the three here in India. I think the team aspect is very pleasing, we have a nice top five now, but the big thing now is for us to continue as a batting group and get our number 6, 7 and 8 into positions where they can add huge value to the team. That’s going to be a big thing, especially for me as a senior player, to give the younger guys some knowledge and try to help them along, to try and help them to step up and really contribute to putting Ireland into big winning positions or chasing scores when batting second.”