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Match Report

Paul Stirling's Man of the Match performance ensured Ireland got their defence of their T20 crown off to the perfect start as they beat Namibia by 32 runs in Abu Dhabi.

Having been inserted by Namibia, Stirling and William Porterfield both benefitted from dropped catches by the Africans to set the Irish innings up with an opening stand of 84 in just 53 balls.

Stirling made 52 from 36 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes), while Porterfield proved the perfect foil with 33 from 25 balls ( 3 fours, 1 six).

The Irish top five all contributed with Kevin and Niall O'Brien making 28 and 26 respectively, while Gary Wilson (20*) provided some late impetus, striking consecutive boundaries in the final over to help Ireland to an above par 166 for 5 at the halfway stage of the game.

Namibia started their run chase steadily, adding 34 for the first wicket, before Alex Cusack removed the dangerous Louis van der Westhuizen for 12.

The Irish attack then strangled the life out of the Namibian chase - not conceding a boundary for 50 deliveries between the 3rd and 12th overs - which saw the required run rate rise into double digits.

Raymond van Schoor - Player of the Tournament in 2012 - top scored for Namibia with an unbeaten 48, but Ireland were always very much in charge, despite a number of uncharacteristic mistakes in the field.

Cusack (2-22) was once again the pick of the Irish attack, receiving excellent support from Tim Murtagh and George Dockrell in particular as Ireland closed out the game to win by 34 runs as Namibia ended on 134 for 7.