Delany delivers for Ireland
GARETH DELANY smashed a career-best 89 from 49 balls in Abu Dhabi and followed up with 2-29 to claim the man-of-the-match award as Ireland thrashed bogey side Oman by 35 runs to get their T20 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.
Promoted to number three when Andy Balbirnie had to drop out with food poisoning, Delany added 42 with Kevin O’Brien for the second wicket, 43 with Harry Tector for the third and a match-defining 64 with Mark Adair in the final five overs.
O’Brien, who hit a world record 35th six in a T20i calendar year, fell for 41 from 28 balls but there was no respite for the side that have beaten Ireland twice in their last three meetings as Tector cleared the ropes twice on his way to a quickfire 28.
Such was 22-year-old Delany’s dominance in the final overs, with a blistering array of shots lifting his tally to nine fours and three maximums, that Adair only contributed 11 runs to the unbeaten partnership that took Ireland to 183-3 and put the game beyond Oman.
Delany, who accelerated so impressively after reaching his half century from 34 balls, walked off with Ireland’s third-best T20 score to his name, then utilised the leg-spinning side of his game to claim two wickets as the Boys in Green kept a tight rein in the field.
Leinster club team-mate George Dockrell improved on Delany’s figures with 2-24, showing how important his left-armers have become in the latter stages, and when Adair claimed two wickets in the 17th over, Oman opted for damage limitation to their nett run rate and settled for 148-9.
After losing to the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, Ireland have now played the best two teams in the group and although in-form Canada may pose problems, their final Group B games against Jersey and Nigeria should be a chance to improve the run-rate.