Ireland's World Cup Qualification campaign got firmly back on track with a thoroughly comprehensive 8 wicket win over a hapless UAE side, who were never truly in contention against a fully motivated and fired up Irish side. Having inserted UAE, William Porterfield's decision was justified in the first 4 overs, as Boyd Rankin and Peter Connell hit the stumps three times, to leave UAE reeling at 3 for 3. The dangerous Saqib Ali, who had made 195 against the Irish last year, managed just 16 this time, victim of a brilliant diving catch by Niall O'Brien off Peter Connell.
Trent Johnston and Alex Cusack kept things tight, and also picked up wickets along the way, reducing UAE to 38 for 6. At that stage a quick finish before lunch was a distinct possibility, but a fine rearguard action from Fayyaz Ahmed (63), brought them up to a semi respectable 133 all out. Ahmed hit 6 fours and 2 sixes in his 65 ball knock, being particularly severe on Regan West, who in spite of that finished with figures of 3 for 39, bowling fairly well after an inauspicious opening over which went for 10. Connell (2-19), Johnston (2-28), Rankin (2-33) and Cusack (1-10) were the other wicket takers on a day where Ireland put their woes of Saturday firmly behind them.
William Porterfield and Gary Wilson put on 83 for the first wicket in 19.4 overs, with Wilson overcoming a slow start - he took 20 balls to get off the mark - to put the ineffectual UAE attack to the sword. Both played some lovely attacking strokes, with Wilson piercing the off side ring with regularity. Porterfield had reached 37, with one memorable off driven six, before being trapped lbw while attempting a reverse sweep.
That brought Eoin Morgan to the crease, and the Middlesex batsman showed his intent by hitting 3 fours and 2 sixes as he raced to an unbeaten 30 from just 27 balls. Morgan, who has stated his desire to return to England once Ireland's qualification has been guaranteed, was obviously a man in a hurry, and his increased tempo was just what Ireland needed as they looked to improve their run rate. Morgan and Wilson added 50 in just 6.3 overs, before Wilson was bowled by Muhammad Aman one short of both his fifty and victory. That only delayed the inevitable by a few minutes, as the modest target was surpassed with 22.2 overs to spare.
Speaking after the win, Surrey batsman Gary Wilson was clearly delighted at ending his recent run of poor scores, after making 0, 0, and 1 in his last 3 outings. "I feel I've been batting well in the nets, and I had a decent enough start of the tournament. It hasn't gone my way in the last couple of games, but I always felt I was just one innings away from regaining my form. I've been working hard in training and that's reaped dividends." The UAE has proved something of a lucky team for Wilson, as it was a score of 83 in a warm up game against the same opponents which cemented his place in the Ireland starting line up. "I always seem to get a few when I play UAE. They're a bit of a lucky team for me, and it was virtually the same bowling attack that I faced 2 weeks ago, so I was confident that I could handle their attack. I've the same preparation for every game. I have confidence in my ability and you've got to back yourself to get runs in every game."
Does this result put the horror show on Saturday out of the player's minds? "It was a great way to get our tournament back on track. To be fair to Afghanistan, they played better than we did and deserved to win. We showed what we are capable of today. An 8 wicket win was fairly comprehensive, and fully deserved I feel. Our opening attack did the business again, even though it was slow, they ran in and hit the deck really hard and gave it their all. They haven't really let us down the whole time we've been here."
The opening stand of 83 put Ireland firmly in control of the game. Wilson clearly relished opening the innings with skipper William Porterfield? "Yeah, Porty's my best mate, and we've been playing and batting together since we were both 13. We were pretty relaxed out there, and have a good understanding with our running between the wickets."
Next up for Ireland are games against The Netherlands and Kenya. How did Wilson see those games panning out? "We're going in with renewed confidence. We'll be backing ourselves to win those games and also the final. We want to show we're the best team in this competition, and we want to send a message to ICC by winning here, and securing more fixtures against the top countries.
- Arshad Ali bowled by Boyd Rankin
- Huge appeal by Niall O'Brien
- Boyd Rankin junps for joy after dismissing Amjad Javed
- Bouncer from Trent Johnston
- Johnston celebrates the dismissal of Qasim
- Successful appeal by Johnston
- Another boundary by Fayyaz Ahmed
- More runs for Fayyaz
- Naemuddin hooks to leg
- Fayyaz top scored with 63 for UAE
- Boundary for Gary Wilson
- A delighted Wilson
- Boundary for Eoin Morgan
- 50 partnership for Eoin Morgan and Gary Wilson
- Saqib Ali bowling for UAE
- Wilson is bowled on 49
- Man of the match Fayyaz Ahmed
- The girls from Alexander College, Dublin with the Ireland squad
- Khurram Khan is bowled by Peter Connell
- Peter Connell bowling
- Roy Torrens and Robin Walsh
- Played away by Nithin
- Played away by Saqib
- Delight for O'Brien and Connell after Ali departs
- Alex Cusack traps Nithin lbw
- Past and present captains Trent Johnston and William Porterfield
- Johnston is congratulated by O'Brien and Porterfield
- Six hit from Fayyaz
- Regan West congratulated on taking another wicket
- Darren and Isaac Campbell who are originally from Bangor
- Another wicket for Regan West
- Trent Johnston can't believe his bad luck
- Regan West is cut away
- Johnston has a word with Naeemuddin
- Alex Cusack is driven by Fayyaz
- Fayyaz avoids a short ball
- Here come the girls
- Cut away by William Porterfield
- UAE bowling
- Six hit by Eoin Morgan
- Niall O'Brien batting