Ireland beat Namibia to keep qualification hopes alive
IRELAND KEEP DESERT T20 HOPES ALIVE WITH WIN OVER NAMIBIA
Ireland kept alive their hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the Desert T20 with a hard-fought five wicket win over Namibia in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing 147 to win, Ireland needed eight from the final over in a thrilling contest. Andy McBrine proved the last gasp hero for the Irish - holding his nerve to strike two boundaries to seal the much needed win with two balls to spare.
Gary Wilson showed all his experience making a valuable unbeaten 38 from 28 balls (3 four) to set up the McBrine finale.
Makeshift opener Stuart Poynter also impressed as he too made 38 - striking four boundaries in an entertaining innings which occupied just 26 deliveries.
Paul Stirling (11) and Kevin O'Brien (22) both fell to stunning catches as Namibia's fielders kept them in the contest, but Wilson's cool head ensured the welcome win - Ireland's first in the format since February 2016.
Earlier the Irish attack had bounced back well after Louis van der Westhuizen and Stephan Baard had given Namibia a blistering start.
The explosive Van Der Westhuizen hit 4 fours and 3 sixes to reach 50 from just 25 balls, sharing an opening stand of 81 in just 52 balls with Baard (32).
The African side looked poised to set Ireland in the region of 180 having reached 89 for 1 at just before the the half-way point.
However, a much improved second-half bowling display saw the Irish attack bounce back superbly, taking a combined 8 for 57 in the final 10.3 overs.
Left-arm teenage paceman Josh Little picked up 2 for 17, while there were also a brace apiece for Kevin O'Brien (2-22), Jacob Mulder (2-27) and Craig Young (2-29).
Ireland now face the hosts UAE tomorrow (WED) at the same venue, with the winners taking the semi-final berth along with current Group A leaders Afghanistan.
Desert T20 Challenge, Abu Dhabi:
Namibia 146-6 (20 overs; L van der Westhuizen 50, S Baard 32, G Snyman 22, J Little 2-17, K O'Brien 2-21, J Mulder 2-27, C Young 2-29)
Ireland 149-5 (19.4 overs; S Poynter 38, G Wilson 38*, K O'Brien 22)
Ireland won by five wickets