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Match Report
Ian Callender

The three-match 50-over series ended at Stormont without any of the Ireland players having a bat, the game abandoned by rain after another dominant display by the Proteas who were 240 for four in the 47th over when it was halted by the second and final interruption of the day.

There were hopes that Ireland could get out for the minimum 20 overs at the end of the day - their target score would have been 157, just about par for a T20 game - but the conditions were still too dangerous.

The highlight of the play that did take place was an undefeated century for Reeza Hendricks, the opening batsman, who delighted the sparse crowd with seven fours and five sixes. Farhaan Benhardien, who was lined up to be the professional at Waringstown this year, before the arrival of Glenn Addicott, scored his second 50 of the series and was dismissed for the first time when Andrew Balbirnie held the catch at long-on.

The wicket-taker was Stuart Thompson who may have conceded 22 runs in his first three overs but continued his happy knack of taking wickets - it's now 14 in his first five matches - with two in the first 10 balls of his second spell to give Ireland their high point of the day.

It went downhill fast after that, however, with rain taking the players off for an hour and it was all South Africa after that with Hendricks and Benhardien adding 102 in 13 overs after the resumption.

Even Trent Johnston could not contain the batsmen yesterday but Max Sorensen continues to show why Tim Murtagh is not an automatic selection for Ireland and Kevin O'Brien made the breakthrough and deservedly gave himself nine overs.

The strength of this touring party can be gauged by the players who have not been involved in the last two games. Wayne Parnell, Ryan McLaren, Justin Ontong and Dean Elgar have all joined the senior team for the ODI series against England and all starred against Gloucestershire in their warm-up game.

In contrast, 11 of the 12 Ireland players will next be involved in club cricket. It will be disappointing if the majority do not play starring roles before they head to Wicklow for the T20 matches.

The first of the four T20 matches on Monday 27 August was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Prospects for play in the 3 remaining matches over the next 6 days were mixed and South Africa A requested early cancellation of these matches so that they could return home to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka. Cricket Ireland agreed to cancel these fixtures.

Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom explained:"We fully appreciate that the priority for Cricket South Africa is to give players that might be involved in the ICC World T20 every opportunity to get meaningful practice beforehand, which we cannot guarantee here, so we completely appreciate their decision."

Ireland coach Phil Simmons was obviously disappointed at the news but fully understood the decision: "It's been a frustrating season for all concerned and the South African tour has been particularly hard hit by the elements. If we are unable to train outdoors we will look to go to North County and have indoor sessions before we leave for Sri Lanka in a weeek's time.

"It's a serious blow to our preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 but we will have two weeks in Sri Lanka before our games against Australia and West Indies, and we of course have warm up fixtures against Sri Lanka 'A', Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in Colombo."

Photographs
Stormont, Belfast