Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma bagged the Player of the Match award.
Proteas captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and elected to bat, and did the bulk of the work setting an imposing total himself, with his 51-ball 72 marking his maiden fifty in T20I cricket. Reeza Hendricks added 69, and between them, they put on 127, South Africa’s highest stand in T20I cricket against Ireland, and their best partnership for the first wicket against anyone in men’s cricket since 2009.
To begin with they were kept in check by Ireland, scoring at just over a run a ball in the first 10 overs, with only five boundaries coming in the first half of the innings. Simi Singh began economically, continuing his good form from the first two T20Is, while debutant Ben White grew into the game, conceding just four runs from his second over and twice nearly bringing the first breakthrough, beating a Hendricks slog-sweep with some sharp turn, and then enticing an inside-edge from the same batsman, with his pad intervening to avert further damage.
Bavuma performs handsomely
A dropped chance in the 11th over brought about the second six of the day, White tipping a shot from Hendricks off Singh over the rope. The moment seemed almost to galvanise the tourists, with at least 10 runs coming off each of the last 10 overs.
Singh struck in the 15th over, Hendricks edging a reverse-sweep behind, but that only brought David Miller to the crease. He smashed an unbeaten 17-ball 36, enough to seal him the Player of the Series award, with Bavuma the only other wicket to fall, holing out to Mark Adair at deep square off Barry McCarthy. South Africa’s 189-2 was the highest score of the series.
Ireland strain with the bat yet again
Ireland had positives to take with the bat, also making their best total of the three-game encounter. While Kevin O’Brien fell early, Paul Stirling started strongly, with an expansive lofted six over extra cover arguably the shot of the day.
He departed for 19, a leading-edge swirling to the third man, but Andrew Balbirnie carried on, striking four boundaries in his 27 before being pinned lbw by George Linde. Still, at the halfway stage Ireland were 75-3, three wickets worse off than South Africa, but ahead on runs at the equivalent point in the innings.
However, the first ball in the second 10 overs brought Lorcan Tucker’s enterprising knock to an end, inside-edging Wiaan Mulder’s first ball to the keeper, and the all-rounder struck again with the last ball of his first over, Aiden Markram completing a diving catch at the long-on rope to see off Harry Tector. A mini-slide, including two runouts, saw Ireland slip from 92-5 to 102-8, Singh, Shane Getkate and Adair falling in quick succession.
As in the first two games, Ireland’s tail rallied, though again with little hope of changing the course of the contest. This time it was Craig Young and Barry McCarthy, the former more than doubling his career run tally in one knock, and the latter fresh from a career-best of his own in his most recent innings. They put on 33 in three overs, each striking a six, before Young sliced an expansive drive into the off-side, with Mulder taking a good catch running backwards.
White and McCarthy ensured Ireland batted out the overs, but South Africa ran out comprehensive winners, with Bavuma claiming the Player of the Match award as well as the series trophy.
South Africa 189-2 (20 overs; T Bavuma 72, R Hendricks 69; S Singh 1-27)
Ireland 140-9 (20 overs; A Balbirnie 27, C Young 22; P Mulder 2-10)
South Africa won by 49 runs