Ireland defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by two wickets in a World Cup Pool B game at the Gabba in Brisbane on Wednesday. In-form Shaiman Anwar’s 106 had powered the UAE to 278/9. But Ireland rode on Gary Wilson (80) and Kevin O’ Brien (25-ball 50) to chase the total with two wickets and four balls of the last over to spare. With this win, Ireland recorded their second victory in the World Cup. They had stunned the West Indies earlier in the tournament.
Earlier, Ireland bowlers had put up a fine display to reduce the UAE to 131/6 in 31.4 overs before Anwar, who scored his maiden One-Day International (ODI) ton, and Amjad Javed (42) stitched a 107-run partnership for the sixth wicket. They not only rescued their team but also helped the UAE post a highly challenging total.
UAE opening batsmen did very well in the first 10 overs. But off-spinner Paul Stirling picked up two quick wickets to dent the UAE. The 24-year-old dismissed Andri Berenger (13) and Krishna Chandran (0) to reduce the UAE to 53/2 in 13.1 overs.
Opener Amjad Ali (45) was looking very good before he lost his wicket to medium pacer Kevin. Next batsman Swapnil Patil offered a catch to Stirling at slip off an O’Brien delivery to leave the team in trouble at 78/4.
The 35-year-old Anwar joined Khurram Khan (36) and the duo put up a 47-run stand before the latter lost his wicket to left-arm spinner George Dockrell. Alex Cusack sent new batsman Rohan Mustafa (2) back early to leave the UAE reeling at 131/6.
Javed, 35, joined Anwar in the middle and the duo stabilised the innings before going for big shots. During his knock of 42 off 35 balls, Javed belted five fours and played a perfect foil to Anwar.
Anwar, who scored 67 against Zimbabwe during their Cup opener, hit 10 fours and a six during his 83-ball knock. He got his three-figure mark in 79 balls. And when he got out — scooping medium pacer Max Sorensen to land in the safe hands of the wicketkeeper wilson — his team was in command at 269/8 in 48.4 overs.
For the Irish team, Stirling, Cusack, O’Brien and Sorensen picked up two wickets apiece, while Dockrell bagged one.
During the chase, opener Stirling (3) failed. But other opener William Porterfield (37) and Ed Joyce (37) stitched a 90-run stand for the second wicket to set the base.
UAE hit back to reduce the Irish to 97/4 in 25.2 overs to raise a hopes of a win. They dismissed
However, Andy Balbirnie (30) and right-handed Wilson brought them back into contention with a 74-run stand for the fifth wicket. After Balbirnie lost his wicket to Mahammed Naveed, Kevin played a quickfire innings to ensure they keep the mounting requiring run rate down.
His innings was studded of eight fours and two huge sixes and he scored his 1oth ODI fifty. The 29-year-old Wilson, who registered his eighth ODI half-century, also joined the party and scored nine fours.
UAE dismissed the both the batsmen to reignite the hopes of an upset victory. But, Dockrell (7) and Cusack (5) passed the test and took their team home.
Brief scores: UAE 278/9 (Shaiman Anwar 106, Amjad Ali 45; Paul Stirling 2/27, Alex Cusack 2/54), Ireland 279/8 in 49.2 overs (Gary Wilson 80, Kevin O’Brien 50; Amjad Javed 3/60, Mohammad Tauqir 2/38. Ireland win by two wickets. (IANS)