Abu Dhabi: The UAE suffered a heavy loss at the hands of Ireland on Monday but managed to advance to the Super Six stage of the ICC Word Cup qualifiers and have also retained their ODI status for the next four years.
Ireland, riding on century knock by Paul Stirling and his 205-run partnership with senior pro William Porterfield, handed UAE a 226-run (D/L method) defeat in a 44 overs rain-curtailed final Group ‘A’ qualifying match at Old Hararians Sports Club.
Despite the result, both teams have sailed smoothly into the Super Six stage of the tournament thanks to West Indies beating Netherlands by 54 runs (D/L method) in their final fixture.
Fourth-placed Netherlands had to win their contest to get any permutation and combination into the equation. However, having lost their contest against West Indies, UAE have qualified as the third team from the group behind West Indies and Ireland.
As far as the ODI status was concerned, there were three places on offer between Scotland, the UAE, Hong Kong, Nepal and Papua New Guinea. With Scotland finishing second from Group B and the UAE third from Group A, they have finished ahead of the remaining three teams and hence have retained their ODI status.
The fourth and fifth-placed sides in the first round group will figure in two rounds of classification matches to decide their final placings in the competition.
Overcast conditions and the gloom had very little effect on the Ireland openers, Stirling and Porterfield, after being invited to take the first share of the crease. The duo took the UAE bowlers, who have been impressive in the tournament baring against West Indies, to the cleaners with some precise stroke-play and excellent shot selection.
Stirling smashed a rollicking 126 off 117 and got his hundred in 106 balls. By the time UAE saw the back of Stirling, caught by Mohammad Naveed, he had smashed five sixes and 15 fours in a 117-ball effort.
Porterfield too was in line for an impressive ton but he fell short by eight runs. The duo batted together till the 35th over and swelled their stand to 205. Imran Haider provided UAE with Porterfield’s wicket before Mohammad Naveed stemmed their surge with two more quick wickets. However, a quick-fire 26-ball unbeaten 50 by Kevin O’Brien saw Ireland post 313/6 in 44 overs.
The UAE were all at sea in their run chase with only four players reaching the double digits. Boyd Rankin broke UAE’s back with four wickets and finished with exceptional figures of 6-2-15-4. He was equally supported from the other end by Simi Singh, whose figures read 6-0-15-3 and UAE’s innings folded for a paltry 91 all out in just 29.3 overs.
Brief Scores: Ireland beat UAE by 226 runs (D/L method). Ireland 313 for 6 in 44 overs (Paul Stirling 126 off 117, William Porterfield 92 off 103, Kevin O’ Brien 50 not out) UAE 91 all out in 29.3 overs (Ghulam Shabber 19, Boyd Rankin 6-2-15-4, Simi Singh 6-0-15-3).