Abu Dhabi: UAE wilted under heavy pressure to suffer their first defeat in the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers, losing to Ireland by five runs at Abu Dhabi Oval 2 on Sunday.
The hosts will be disappointed with their showing, especially after their bowlers, led by Shadeep Silva, did well to restrict Ireland to a modest total of 138 in their 20 overs.
The hosts needed nine runs from the final over for victory or eight to tie the scores and force a super over. And, with three wickets in hand, it looked as if the hosts would get home easily when Trent Johnston stepped up to bowl the final over.
But Niall O’Brien ran out Nasir Aziz off the first ball, with Johnston restricting the UAE to two singles before Max Sorensen’s brilliant throw saw Shadeep Silva also run out.
With set batsman Rohan Mustafa off strike, Johnston ended the game with his next delivery as he yorked No 11 Manjula Garuge to seal the win.
Despite losing opener Mohammad Azam early, UAE were on course for victory after Shaiman Anwar (19) and skipper Khurram Khan (35) set the platform with a watchful partnership.
However, once they departed the UAE lost their way. The hosts needed 57 runs from 36 balls with six wickets in hand, but some poor shot selection and atrocious running between the wickets got Ireland back into the game. Mustafa remained unbeaten on 27, but he ran out of partners and the UAE were bowled out for 133 in 19.5 overs.
For Ireland the crucial breakthroughs were provided by Sorensen, who finished with exceptional figures of 2 for 17 from his four overs as well as being instrumental in Silva’s run out at the end. George Dockrell also contributed with two wickets for 21 runs.
Ireland, batting first, started cautiously but were quickly rocked by a double strike by left arm spinner Silva. First, Paul Stirling (13) saw his stumps rattled and then Niall O’Brien made the long walk backing to the dugout for a duck after getting out in similar fashion.
Kevin O’Brien steadied the innings with Gary Wilson, putting on a 92-run stand for the fourth wicket to see Ireland out of trouble and to a respectable total. The former made 47 off 47 deliveries, while Wilson scored a vital 53 off 44 balls.
Results & fixtures
Namibia (163/4) beat USA (128/8) by 35 runs
Ireland (138/5) beat UAE (133 all out) by 5 runs
Netherlands (145/2) beat Bermuda (144/8) by 8 wickets
Afghanistan (72/4) beat Papua New Guinea (167/6) by 6 wickets (D/L method)
Uganda vs Italy, 10am at Shaikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi
Canada vs Hong Kong, 2pm at Abu Dhabi Oval 1
Denmark vs Kenya, 10am at ICC Global Cricket Academy 1 in Dubai
Scotland vs Nepal at ICC Global Cricket Academy 2 in Dubai