O'Brien stars as Ireland defeat ACT Comets
NIALL O'BRIEN top scored with 88 as Ireland put their recent batting woes behind then to beat ACT Comets by 124 runs in a day/night game in Canberra to register their first win of their acclimatisation tour. O'Brien shared in a sixth wicket stand of 83 in just 51 balls with Andrew Poynter (34), striking 11 fours and a six in his 77 ball innings.
O'Brien was one of four changes to the side that lost twice to Queensland, with William Porterfield, Gary Wilson and John Mooney all returning to bolster the batting. Porterfield (23) and Andrew Balbirnie (20) shared an opening stand of 51 before both departed in quick succession. Stuart Thompson (9) went cheaply before O'Brien and Wilson (19) added a solid 42 for the 4th wicket.
Wilson's run out saw Niall O'Brien joined by his brother Kevin, who struck four boundaries in a breezy 22. His dismissal saw the game evenly poised at 151 for 5 before the match defining 6th wicket stand.
John Mooney provided the late fireworks, hitting an unbeaten 41 from 20 balls (6 fours, 1 six), as he and Craig Young (11*) took 54 off the last four overs to take the Irish total to an imposing 302 for 8.
Daniel Hughes (24) and Matthew Condon (18) got the Comets reply off to a solid start with an opening stand of 38, but once Peter Chase (3-39) removed both, Ireland were very much in control. Kevin O'Brien (2-8) and Craig Young (3-36) took further wickets to reduce Comets to 88 for 5, and it was all about respectability then for the home side.
Nick Larkin, a familiar face to Irish cricket following his debut for them against Sri Lanka A earlier this summer, top scored for Comets with 48. The North Down batsman shared a 54 run partnership with Vele Dukoski (35) which ended with a George Dockrell run out following a mix up.
John Mooney (1-33) trapped Blake Dean (4) and then caught Larkin off the bowling of the impressive Young. Gary Wilson completed five catches behind the stumps as Comets were dismissed for 178 with 10 overs unused.
A good day then for Ireland following their difficult start to the tour. The sides will meet again on Thursday before Ireland depart for their four matches in New Zealand.
Have you any comment to make on any aspect of this article? What are your views on any of the opinions expressed in it? Have your say on the CricketEurope Ireland Forum.