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Match Report
Derek Scott

Rain prevented any play until 4 p.m. A 31 overs a side match then started. At 8:30 p.m. South Africa won by 42 runs. Ireland lost their last wicket on the fifth ball of the 31st over. At no time did a 174 run target look a possibility. Again the crowd was poor.

Ireland made one change from the previous day. Cusack replaced Wilson and his all round play won him the Man-of-the-Match Award. Kallis was captaining South Africa on this tour in the absence of the injured Smith. In the team was Philander whose debut for South Africa this was and who had been due to play for Ireland in the Friends Provident matches until injury struck him. Also making his debut was off-spinner Tshabalala while Duminy and Van Wyk had not played Test Cricket. Ireland's record against South Africa began with a loss in a three-day match in 1894. In all, between 1894 and 2003, 13 matches have been played. Ireland won twice (the first in 1904 and the second in 1947) lost nine and drew two.

Ireland won the toss and were happy to send South Africa in and thus chase whatever runs were set. It never seemed a good idea when Van Wyk and de Villiers put on 75 in 12.3 overs for the first wicket. Whelan and Fourie were Ireland's bowlers. The latter gave up a boundary wide and another four in his first over. Whelan's second over brought three fours, one an overthrow. When 50 came up in over 9, 6 fours had been hit, four of them by de Villiers. K O'Brien replaced Fourie for over 12 (10 came off it) but it was Whelan who struck the first blow for Ireland in his seventh and last over. Seven was the maximum allowance for three bowlers and six for two more. de Villiers drove to deep extra cover. Cusack, running in, dived in to take a great low catch. 75-1-40. Kallis and Van Wyk kept up the momentum and their stand put on 61 runs in 77 balls. O'Brien only bowled two overs. Then McCallan, in the 15th over, and Johnston, in the 16th over, came on. 100 came up in over 20.

White and Cusack were then given two overs each. Van Wyk got to 50 in White's second over. It came off 81 balls with four fours. Kallis celebrated Van Wyk's 50 by hitting a six over long-on in the same over. To the second ball of Cusack's next over Van Wyk was out when he chipped a ball to mid-wicket about 30 yards distant. 136-2-52. Gibbs was next but faced only four balls and scored only 2 runs. He swung at Cusack and was caught at the wicket. 147-3-2. Kemp came in to join Kallis with 21 balls left. They added 15 in 13 balls. Then Cusack took his third wicket while bowling his fourth over, which was also the second last. Kallis skied to mid-on. 162-4-46. Kallis's 46 had come in 47 balls which contained 26 singles. No more wickets fell in the remaining eight balls. Kemp and Boucher managed 11 more runs for a total of 173 which was just under six runs per over.

Seven Irish bowlers were used with only Whelan bowling the maximum allowed seven overs. Cusack was the star. He took his three wickets for 15 in a span of 16 balls. His fine catch to dismiss de Villiers meant he had a hand in all four South African dismissals.

It was just after 6 p.m. when Porterfield and Carroll opened Ireland's innings and faced Ntini and Steyn, both pretty swift and using three slips and a gully. Despite this Ireland scored at a quick rate. Porterfield hit Steyn for four to fine leg in the second over and did the same to Ntini in over three. Carroll joined in with a clipped four to square leg in Steyn's second over. In four overs 24 was on the board. This became 43 in eight overs and this was par for a win rate. Philander replaced Ntini but it was Steyn who took the first wicket, and a lucky one it was. In over 10 Carroll played a back foot shot and, as he did so, one foot slipped and dislodged the bails. 45-1-21. This was the first of three wickets to fall while only two runs were scored. Fourie came in at number three, scored a single but faced only three balls and was out in the same over as Carroll had been. He was caught at first slip off a ball that came at the fielder, Kemp, very fast. 47-2-1. Joyce came in and saw Porterfield dismissed from the third ball of Philander's second over. Porterfield nibbled and was caught high up by wicket-keeper Boucher. 47-3-17.

N O'Brien came in, and saw Joyce hit a four to extra cover off Kallis, replacing Steyn, but was out, bowled, to the first ball of Philander's third over. He was hitting out and hit over the ball, a poor shot. 56-4-4. Cusack played out the rest of this over. Joyce hit another mid-wicket four off Kallis. Then he too was caught at the wicket, Kallis being the bowler. 66-5-11. K.O'Brien came in to join Cusack. Tshabalala came on with his off breaks in place of Philander. O'Brien hit a full toss for four to long-on in the off-spinner's first over but got out in his second over, caught at mid-wicket. Once again his shot selection was poor. 77-6-6.

Duminy, another offspinner rarely used, replaced Kallis for over 20. Newcomer White reverse swept his third ball and was caught at what became leg gully, due to the sweep, at the second attempt. 83-7-3. Cusack was playing well and was nine when Johnston arrived, once again absurdly late at number nine. In three overs 13 runs were put. Ntini returned after two overs by Tshabalala and in the second over of this return Johnston was out to a wonderful outfield catch near the screen. Duminy ran to his left, dived, and caught the ball low and two handed. 96-8-9. Could McCallan now discover his early career batting form and stay with Cusack to see 100 up and possibly a respectable total. The answer was "Yes, he could". 33 runs were put on in just over six overs. These overs were shared by Tshabalala, Kallis, Steyn and Philander. Cusack hit Tshabalala for a four to long-off in over 24 to cross the first hurdle, the 100 was now up. In over 26 Cusack went one better. He hit a six to long-on but was lucky when the fielder Steyn caught the ball but could not avoid stepping over the boundary marker.

Philander came back for over 29 and he it was who took the last two wickets to give him an analysis of 4-12 in 5.5 overs. He proved what an asset he would have been to Ireland in the Friends Provident Trophy had he been able to play. The last ball of this 29th over saw McCallan playing a "shovel shot" and was caught at the wicket on the leg side. 129-9-10. Whelan swung at what would have been the second last ball of the match and was bowled. Cusack was left 36 not out in 56 balls. Of the other batsmen only Carroll reached 20.

Cusack, for his all-round play, even if on the losing side, deserved his Man-of-the-Match Award. In general Ireland's batting was poor. In the following week India played South Africa three times at Stormont. The matches were beamed to Asia by Nimbus TV at, hopefully, a good profit to the ICU. India won the series by two matches to one before sparse attendances.

Match Programme
Stormont, Belfast