Rampant Ireland secure play-off slot
STIRLING AND MOONEY STAR AS IRELAND GET T20 WCQ CAMPAIGN BACK ON TRACK
PAUL STIRLING produced a Man of the Match display as Ireland got their T20 World Cup qualification campaign back on track with an emphatic seven wickets win over Jersey at Malahide.
Stirling - back in tandem with regular opening partner William Porterfield - top scored with an impressive 55 from just 38 balls.
The pugnacious opener struck seven boundaries - many with his trademark power through the covers and square - and one imperious straight six.
Chasing a modest target of 123, Porterfield (17) shared an opening stand of 44 in 29 deliveries with Stirling - surviving a regulation slip chance off Kay when he had made just one.
Kay got his revenge when he induced a false hook shot from the Irish skipper, with Corne Bodenstein holding a difficult chance in the deep.
Andrew Balbirnie joined his Middlesex colleague in the middle and the Dubliner was content to play the anchor role, scoring at a run a ball and rotating the strike.
Their stand of 47 was ended after Ben Stevens (2-20) induced a false stroke from Stirling with the total on 91, but by then the back of the chase had been broken.
Left-armer Stevens trapped a sweeping Kevin O'Brien (8), but there was no further joy for the Channel Islanders as Balbirnie (31*) and Gary Wilson (11*) saw the Irish safely home with 3.2 overs to spare.
Earlier the triumvirate of Paul Stirling (3-16), John Mooney (3-20), and Alex Cusack (3-26) had strangled the Jersey innings after they had been well placed at 88 for 1 with seven overs remaining.
George Dockrell (1-26) had provided the initial breakthrough after skipper Peter Gough (42) and Ed Farley (21) had put on 42 for the first wicket.
Teenager Jonty Jenner - on the books of English county side Sussex - looked impressive as he reached 26, and Jersey looked on course to post a total in the 140-150 region.
The wheels however came off the Jersey innings in spectacular fashion in the last five overs as they lost their last eight wickets in the crucial phase while adding just 20 runs.
John Mooney - the leading wicket taker in the tournament with 14 victims - finished the innings in dramatic fashion by taking a hat-trick.
Mooney is only the fourth Irish bowler to achieve the feat - following Thomas Hanna way back in 1877, and in more recent times Peter Connell and Trent Johnston.
This was a clinical, professional display by Ireland who were obviously stung by the fierce criticism directed at the team after two below-par displays which saw them lose to Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong.
The win takes them to the top of the table for a few hours at least, and secures their place in the play-off slots. They may still gain the automatic place on offer to the group winners, but that would require Hong Kong to beat Namibia and USA to overcome PNG in the afternoon games.
If Ireland finish second in the Group then they face Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, while a third place slot would see them playing The Netherlands on Tuesday afternoon.
T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFERS
JERSEY 122 all out (19.5 overs, P Gough 42, J Jenner 26, E Farley 21, P Stirling 3-16, J Mooney 3-20, A Cusack 3-26)
IRELAND 123/3 (16.4 overs, P Stirling 55, A Balbirnie 32*, B Stevens 2-20)
Ireland beat Jersey by seven wickets