McCarthy’s gravity-defying effort lifts Ireland’s spirits
Barry McCarthy

Guwahati: Ireland quick Barry McCarthy’s jaw-dropping fielding effort left the Brisbane crowd in awe as he lit up his side’s rather ordinary outing against hosts Australia in a T20 World Cup Group 1 encounter on Monday.

It was the second ball of the 15th over when Marcus Stoinis (35) smashed it over long-on in search of a maximum before McCarthy flew over the boundary ropes, horizontally afloat and parallel to the field to successfully push the ball back into the ground, and eventually save a definite six.

His acrobatic effort not only earned him a standing ovation from the vociferous crowd at the Gabba but also from the Australian stumper Matthew Wade from the dug-out.

Earlier, after Irish skipper Andrew Balbirnie put Australia to bat, McCarthy instantly made an impact by dismissing David Warner (3) cheaply. He then went on to take two more crucial wickets of Mitchell Marsh (28) and skipper Aaron Finch (63), before Australia finished their stipulated 20 overs with 179/5 on the board.

In reply, five wickets in a span of 13 deliveries derailed Ireland’s chase early on, before stumper Lorcan Tucker raged a lone battle to lead an aggressive counter-attack. Having walked in at No 3, Tucker found little support from the other end as wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals, leaving the Irish team tottering at a precarious 25/5 inside the mandatory powerplay.

Glenn Maxwell (2/14) and Mitchell Starc (2/43) rocked Ireland’s ship with double strikes in their respective opening overs after Pat Cummins (2/28) opened the gates with the wicket of the Irish skipper.

However, Tucker, who came in to bat in the second over of the innings, raised Ireland’s hopes with a blistering unbeaten 48-ball 71, before the lower order ditched his plans with their hara-kiri, to eventually be bundled out for a below-par 137 in 18.1 overs.

While Australia managed a comfortable win to move to the second spot in the Group 1 table, a tougher challenge awaits their team physios with injury concerns to as many as three key players. Skipper Finch was out of the field for most parts of the game due to a hamstring issue while Tim David didn’t take the field during Ireland’s innings. All-rounder Stoinis also kept going in and out.

Statistically, the win gave Australia two points, taking their total to 5 and giving them a slight edge over Ashes rivals England (4), who have two more games to play in the tournament. Australia, meanwhile, has one game to go against Afghanistan.

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