The United States were unable to repeat their Twenty20 heroics on Thursday night as Ireland fought back courageously in Florida to draw their series 1-1.
Monank Patel’s men created history by beating a Test playing nation for the first time on Wednesday and were looking good for more success after a decent bowling display restricted Ireland to 150-6 from their allotted 20 overs.
But Lorcan Tucker’s 84 for the Irish and Curtis Campher’s bowling proved decisive for the men in green, who ensured this inaugural Twenty20 series between the sides on American soil ended all square as they edged to victory by nine runs.
The teams will now play three one-day international matches starting on Sunday in Lauderhill.
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Ireland were smarting after losing emphatically in the first Twenty20 match of the series on Wednesday, slumping to a comprehensive, historic 26 run defeat.
But allied with some excellent bowling and even better fielding, the home side, who opted to send the Irish into bat having won the toss, unleashed another impressive performance which delighted a healthy turn out at the Broward County Stadium even if it ultimately ended in defeat.
The US catching was superb with almost every chance being held, the best coming when Marty Kain stooped low and pulled off a brilliant diving effort to dismiss William McClintock and leave the visitors in deep trouble at 96-6.
It was proving to be another torrid match for Ireland, who found themselves teetering on 128 – 8 with three overs left and when US skipper Patel produced an excellent piece of wicketkeeping by running out Barry McCarthy thanks to a classy dive and throw at the stumps, hopes were high of another famous US triumph.
Yet Tucker, who top scored for Ireland in the first match with an unbeaten 57, was ultimately the matchwinner with a fine innings of 84 from 56 balls which included three sixes and helped set what seemed an under-par target of 150.
In reply, the Americans started solidly, recovering from the unfortunate run-out of opener Ryan Scott to reach 34-1 from the first six overs.
However, Ireland’s bowling was much improved and it wasn’t until Gajanand Singh, who was the American match winner with the bat in the first game, came to the fore again and began to unleash some mighty blows.
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The run-rate however was climbing with Campher the stand-out bowler for Ireland, finishing with four wickets.
The home team stuck in, but when Singh was trapped LBW by the dangerous Campher, the US were left with too much to do despite the best efforts of Sushant Modani, who smacked 27 from 15 including two maximums before being caught in the deep.
They needed 17 from the last over but fell just short in an exciting finish.
Ireland: 150 ALL-OUT (L.Tucker 84, C.Campher 17, S.Singh 13; S.Netravalkar 3-33). USA 162-6 (S. Modani 27, M.Patel 26, G.Singh 22; C.Campher 4-25).
Ireland win by 9 runs.
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