Ireland remain frustrated in quest for international relevance

Harry Tector

Ollie Phillips

For the second successive T20 International Ireland fell well short of South Africa's total, losing the second of the three-match series by 42 runs. The margin of defeat, as with the 33-run deficit in the first game, does not tell the whole story, and Ireland were again left to rue their missed opportunities.

Having reduced South Africa to 58/5, Graham Ford and his side will be hugely disappointed that the Proteas eventually posted 159 for 7 from their twenty overs, particularly when reflecting that David Miller, who eventually struck a match-winning 75 not out off 44 balls, ought to have been caught behind on 19 after edging a Josh Little delivery.

The Irish bowling unit has caused South Africa genuine problems, and played a huge role in defending their total of 290 during a famous ODI win earlier this month. The batting, usually an imposing outfit with Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien opening up, must improve in the third T20 to win back some pride.

This tendency to display genuine potential and failure to capitalise will be starting to frustrate Ireland who, despite limited resources and a restricted pool of talent, have had the chances in the recent past to engrain themselves within the collective cricketing psyche. Big white-ball wins against England, the West Indies and the aforementioned triumph over South Africa have not been built on, followed up by series defeats to Afghanistan and the Netherlands.

Going into the final T20, the men in green will be hoping to produce the consistency of performance that they have long been lacking, and earn the respect they well deserve from the global game as the World Cup comes into view.