Ireland v South Africa T20 series: Irish morale high despite losing run, says Andrew Balbirnie

Harry Tector celebrates the first of his two centuries in the ODI series against New Zealand last month
Harry Tector has hit two brilliant centuries for Ireland this summer but they remain without a win in all eight of their limited over contests
Ireland v South Africa T20 series - Game one of two
Venue: Bristol Date: Wednesday, 3 August Start time: 18:30 BST
Coverage: Scorecard and match report on the BBC Sport website

Captain Andrew Balbirnie says Ireland's morale remains high for two Twenty20 games against South Africa, despite an eight-match losing run this summer.

The Irish lost two T20 contests against India in June, before agonising one-wicket and one-run 50-over defeats by New Zealand last month.

New Zealand then followed their 3-0 one-day series win with the same margin of victory in the T20s.

But Balbirnie said: "It hasn't been too psychologically damaging as such."

Speaking before Wednesday's opening T20 contest in Bristol against the South Africans, which will be followed by a further encounter at the County Ground on Friday, Balbirnie said the Irish "have to get back on the horse".

"The beauty of this summer is that there are so many internationals, so you can't really dwell too much on it.

"We still have a lot of games to play before we head to the [T20] World Cup."

Ireland did beat South Africa in a one-day international at Malahide last summer as Balbirnie's 102 helped them clinch a 43-run win in a contest which had World Super League points on offer.

South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will be missing for South Africa with an ankle injury

After the games with South Africa, Ireland will face Afghanistan in a five-match T20 series which starts at Stormont next Tuesday and continues through to 17 August.

The Irish will be hoping Harry Tector can maintain his brilliant form after hitting centuries in the last-gasp one-day defeats by New Zealand.

The 22-year-old's summer has also included a half century in one of the T20 ties with India and his performances have secured him a deal to play for the Barbados Royals in the Caribbean Premier League.

After his heroics last summer at Lord's, Ireland opener Paul Stirling will again be on duty for Southern Brave in the latter part of The Hundred franchise competition - and Balbirnie says such exposure can only help the country's T20 development.

"The more players we can get in those leagues, the better for our squad and the better our whole set-up will be because they will bring back invaluable experience working with top coaches and top players," he added.

Ireland's only squad change from the three T20 defeats to New Zealand sees Graham Hume replacing injured Craig Young.

South Africa will be without fast bowler Kagiso Rabada with an ankle injury, which also makes him a doubt for the three-match Test series against England which starts at Lord's on 17 August.