Lorcan Tucker secures Ireland victory as the T20I series even ends with honors
Ireland 150 (Tucker 84, Netravalkar 3:33, Vaghela 2-16) beat USA 141 for 7 (Modani 27, Camphor 4-25) by nine runs.
It went to the final, but Ireland narrowly avoided another defeat in the rematch against the USA in Florida. Lorcan Tucker's charming 84 made the difference to a nine-run win on Thursday night at Broward County Stadium when the series ended 1-1.
After Ireland was asked to beat, Ireland battled through much of their innings for the second straight day, save for Tucker, who scored a second straight fifty after losing two in a match-winning stroke.
Just like the day before, Tucker got into trouble in the second over with Ireland after Paul Stirling missed a sweep against Nisarg Patel to be for five lbw. And Andy Balbirnie's déjà vu came in the form of a second-place transfer on a deep square leg that pulled Saurabh Netravalkar to Sushant Modani to fall to ten, while Ireland finished second at 20-2.
After looking uncomfortable in the last game against Ali Khan's pace, Tucker indulged himself this time, starting with a 180-degree turn in the wrong direction for the US bowling ace in the fourth round. Tucker rattled Khan for six and four, a sign of another key sequence to follow at the end of the inning. In the sixth round, two more borders were removed from Netravalkar when Ireland finished the power play 59 for 2.
Behera opened the chase for the US in a reshuffled slap order and was fortunate not to have given the first ball on a strong lbw scream to a back-of-a-length ball from Mark Adair that slipped on and put him in front hit the middle stump. But Behera couldn't make much of the extra chance and struggled to find rhythm in an innings of 16 of 23 balls before getting caught in game eight with Adair. After his inaugural colleague Ryan Scott ran out of his own bowling due to sharp work from camphor, the US was behind eight after a slow start in the chase at 42 for 2 after 8.
After a 13-run open-over, the US went to the 14th before hitting another double-digit frame when Gajanand Singh finally opened to sweep Ben White's legspin over long-on, which breathed some life into the US. But in the next over he made a dubious LBW decision against Camphor for 22.
With 109 for 4 after 17 and 42 taking 18 balls, victory seemed like an odd thought for the US before the dynamics shifted back and forth in a wild 18th over thrown by Camphor. It started with a chest-high no-ball that Modani heaved over the midwicket for six. Although he missed the free hit, another straight drive for six followed, bringing the equation to a very manageable 30 out of 16. But camphor swung the pendulum back into Ireland's path, taking three wickets in four balls. Modani drove a ride to Tucker at Sweeper Cover for 27 before Marty Kain was rolled off a back-of-a-length delivery that slipped past a pull for 11. Mohammad's attempt at innovation failed when his attempt to slam a ramp over the fine leg resulted in a cue shot from the toe back to camphor for a second ball duck.
USA made it to the final and took 17 to beat Adair. After knocking Kain 23 on the 20th the day before, in which he was terribly wrong about his lines, Adair rehabilitated himself Thursday night by getting to the heart of his Wide Yorker. Three points and a bye came to victory from the six legal deliveries in a seven run as Tucker took home both Player of the Game and Player of the Series accolades.
Ireland's post-power play problems that haunted them during the T20 World Cup didn't exactly stop in Florida when Tucker's partners ran out. The US weirdos did well to curb the goal rate when teenage duo Yasir Mohammad and debutant Vatsal Vaghela each landed two wickets to put pressure on Ireland.
Yasir struck first on his legspin, causing Curtis Campher to sweep the corner to give Marty Kain a chance, who finished seventh in seventh place. Shane Getkate then drove from Vaghela's left turn to Ritwik Behera long-off for five, and Ireland's promising start fizzled out at halftime with a score of 84 for 4.
Tucker was first dropped on extra cover at Yasir's bowling by Nisarg when he was 39, and Vaghela then gambled away a direct chance in his own bowling with Tucker at 50 when an improperly tuned drive fluttered gently to knee level just to juggle and to be dropped. While Tucker received a pardon, it wasn't the middle order as wickets were given during a six-over stretch from Nov.
Neil Rock (caught long-on for four), William McClintock (caught long-on for one) and Mark Adair (bowled for three) fell in consecutive overs when Ireland slipped to 102 for 7 on the 14th and seemed in danger, can't beat their overs off. That came to fruition, but not before a pivotal sequence in which Tucker Khan turned 18. Until their final wicket, after both Simi Singh and Barry McCarthy fell cheaply, Khan went in search of the perfect Yorker to win the Innings to be put on hold. Instead, it backfired as he missed his length and the result was Tucker driving him for two sixs and a four in a 17 run-over. A reverse sweep from Netravalkar created another limit in the 19th before Tucker rushed and tried to retry the shot when Ireland ended their innings with seven balls.