Delany leads T20 revolution
David Townsend (Irish Independent)
GARETH DELANY gave an exciting glimpse of a T20 revolution in the making with a stunning half-century at Malahide yesterday as Ireland stormed past Scotland by four wickets with a 14 balls to spare in their first action of the tri-series.
After being rained off against the Netherlands on Sunday, and without star batsman Paul Stirling who has ‘a niggle’, the Boys in Green looked to be up against it as Scotland posted 193-7, which would have been more but for a fine spell of 3-29 from Boyd Rankin.
The Ireland T20 side of recent years, which had slipped below Scotland and the Netherlands in the global rankings, may well have wilted, but coach Graham Ford’s thrilling new look line-up made a nonsense of what should have been a testing chase.
Delany, whose fast-bowling cousin David was one of two Ireland debutants along with Harry Tector, helped veteran Kevin O’Brien add 57 for the first wicket in only four overs and charged on to reach his own half-century from 25 balls, with eight fours and a six.
When the 22-year-old fell for 52, Andy Balbirnie maintained the run-rate with three maximums, lifting boundaries over extra cover and hammering his trademark sweeps and the game was well beyond Scotland by the time he was caught and bowled for 64.
Tector played the shot of the day, an audacious ‘reverse pull’ for four, before he was stumped for 21 from 15 balls, and despite losing Lorcan Tucker and skipper Gary Wilson cheaply Ireland had made a clear statement ahead of the T20 World Cup qualifiers next month.
Whether Ford is still in charge for that tournament in the United Arab Emirates was thrown into doubt yesterday (TUES) when he was identified as a leading contender to take over as England coach from the departing Trevor Bayliss, despite signing a new contract with Ireland last week.