50 overs Ireland 300 for 9 (Tector 113, Campher 43, Ferguson 2-44, Sodhi 2-62) vs New Zealand
A day after the Irish rugby team upset the All Blacks in Dunedin, the Irish cricket team threatened to pull off something similar against the Black Caps in Malahide. Harry Tector
converted his fourth successive half-century in ODI cricket – and eighth in his last 11 ODI innings – to a maiden ODI hundred to carry Ireland to 300 for 9.
Tector came to the crease in the seventh over, when Ireland were 26 for 2, and didn’t budge until the 44th over. He sensibly saw off incisive first spells from Lockie Ferguson
and Matt Henry, bedded in during the middle overs, and then unleashed an end-overs assault.
After needing 71 balls to reach his fifty, Tector zoomed to his first ODI hundred off 109 balls. He brought up the landmark in grand fashion by cracking seamer Blair Tickner for four successive fours in the 42nd over. Tector’s celebration was extremely emotional – he had lost his grandmother
last weekend – and he looked good for more when he lined up Tickner for two more boundaries in his next over.
Tickner, however, cut down his pace and cut short Tector’s innings at 113 off 117 balls. Tector was warmly welcomed back by Paul Stirling, the only other Ireland batter to rack up four successive fifty-plus scores for Ireland in ODI cricket, along with the rest of the Ireland squad, in front of a sell-out crowd in Malahide.
Tector’s career-best ODI score comes just two weeks after he produced his best T20I score – 64 not out off 33 balls – against an India attack
that had Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and tearaway Umran Malik. During that effort, also at the same venue, Tector had played a range of attractive strokes through and over the covers. On Sunday, Ferguson and co didn’t offer him as many chances to drive through the region, but Tector showed he is strong on the leg side as well, taking 46 of his 113 runs on this side of the wicket. The leg-side bash included everything from swivel-pulls to the good old swipe.
Tector found able allies in Andy McBrine
and Curtis Campher
who contributed 39 and 43 respectively. Ireland lost Lorcan Tucker, Tector and Mark Adair in a space of 11 balls, but cameos from George Dockrell (18) and Simi Singh (30) pushed Ireland up to 300.
Such a tall total seemed far away from Ireland’s reach when Ferguson and Henry had carved up their top order. Ferguson, who was playing his first ODI since March 2020, marked his return by blitzing through Stirling’s defences with a hooping inswinger. Andy Balbirnie managed nine off ten balls before Henry found just enough seam movement against the inward angle to scratch the outside edge.
Ireland had suffered a blow even before the start of the series, with their head coach Heinrich Malan going into isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. Despite those setbacks, Ireland still found a way, thanks in no small part to their middle order.
Once the swing disappeared, Ferguson pounded the hard lengths and even had McBrine on the floor. McBrine, though, immediately shook that off and crunched the next ball he faced from Ferguson between extra-cover and mid-off. Then, when Ish Sodhi went too full, McBrine stretched out once again and belted a four over his head. He dominated a 60-run third-wicket partnership with Tector before Ferguson returned for his second shift and had him nicking behind.
Tector and Campher then struck up a 94-run stand to expose a depleted New Zealand attack
that was missing Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner. In the Covid-enforced absence of Santner, legspinner Sodhi and offspinner Michael Bracewell leaked 104 runs between them in 18 overs. Campher was particularly proactive against the spinners, often taking trips down the track and rolling out sweeps to throw them off their lengths and lines. It was Glenn Phillips, who was making his ODI debut, who snapped the stand when he bowled Campher with a skidder.
Sodhi also coaxed a couple of late wickets, but by then the damage had already been done by Tector and Campher. Ferguson was New Zealand’s best bowler on the day, returning 2 for 44 in his ten overs.