Dubai: UAE bowed to Ireland’s experience to lose both the matches of the two-match series at the International Cricket Council Academy ground. Ireland skipper William Porterfield, the 33-year-old veteran of 111 one-dayers, cracked 139 off 147 balls (13 boundaries, two sixes) and showed the way for 27-year-old Andy Balbirnie, who also notched up 102 off 109 balls with 12 boundaries and a six.
Porterfield and Balbirnie added 201 runs for the second wicket and helped Ireland post a huge total of 301 for 5 in 50 overs. UAE, in their reply, could muster only 234 and were all out in 48.4 overs despite Rameez Shahzad scoring his second successive half century. Ireland won the match by 67 runs.
The destroyer of UAE was Kevin O’Brien, another veteran of many a battle for Ireland, who had lifted his country to fame through his exploits as an all-rounder. He bagged four wickets for 41 runs. Ireland players’ years of experience as professional players made it difficult for UAE players, who had only recently turned professional through a centralised contract system that allows them to train full time.
Ireland, who had won the first match of the series by four wickets, won the toss but elected to bat first. Opener Paul Stirling got out caught and bowled by Zahoor Khan in the ninth over. After this dismissal, Ireland never lost a wicket until the 44th over when Qadir Ahmad dismissed Balbirnie. Mohammad Naveed ended Porterfield’s knock but Kevin O’Brien hit a quick 24 to swell the total.
UAE openers Ashfaq Ahmad and skipper Rohan Mustafa put on 36 runs in the first eight overs before Ahmad was caught behind by Nevil O’Brien off Barry McCarthy for 25. Mustafa too followed caught behind for 12 off Peter Chase.
Ghulam Shabber lasted 44 balls and scored 18 runs and added 35 runs with Shahzad for the third wicket before he got bowled by McBrine. Shahzad and Mohammad Usman then put on 68 runs. Shezad got out for 50 that came off 56 balls with six boundaries. Usman too fell for 44 to Kevin O’Brien. Except for Mohammad Boota and Mohammad Naveed, who scored 20 and 25 runs respectively, the rest of the batsmen fell quickly.