Ireland made it safely through to Saturday's World T20 Qualifying final after an emphatic 62-run win over hosts UAE in Abu Dhabi.
William Porterfield opted to take first use on winning the toss- the seventh straight time the Irish have batted first in this competition- but things didn't go according to plan early on. The skipper lasted just 8 balls before falling to Manjula Guruge and new man in James Shannon came and went as well, Shadeep Silva trapping him lbw for 7.
Worse was to follow for the Group A winners when Guruge did for the dangerous Stirling (17), and Ireland were on the ropes in the 8th over when Gary Wilson's dismissal left them struggling on 42-4. Cometh the hour however and a trio of familiar faces stepped up to the mark to get the innings back on track.
First, Kevin O'Brien and John Mooney doubled the Irish total in the next six overs, the partnership ending with O'Brien trapped in front by Nasir Aziz for 31. Mooney was then joined by Trent Johnston and the pair added a priceless 55-run stand in just 32 balls as the batting side got on top.
The soon to be retired all-rounder hit 5 fours and a six in making 35 from just 18 balls and although Mooney went soon after for 29, their combined efforts allowed Ireland to close on a very competitive 147 for 8.
Guruge (3 for 21) and Rohan Mustafa (2 for 23) fared best with the ball for the home side who then made an aggressive start to their reply. Shaiman Anwar plundered 14 runs from Tim Murtagh's first over but the game was to change on events at the other end.
Max Sorensen, currently in the form of his career in the green shirt was proving almost unplayable and he removed both openers and then number 3 Khurram Khan to put the UAE on the back foot. Amjed Javed resisted manfully in scoring 19 but when he became Sorensen's 4th victim you sensed the game was up. The hosts were 45 for 4 with the run rate climbing steeply and Ireland kept them pinned to the floor from there on in.
Swapnil Patil made 16 in the middle order before being undone by Kevin O'Brien and having come in for some tap in his first over, Murtagh showed real character by returning to the attack and cleaning up four wickets.
Sorensen deservedly picked up the man-of-the-match for his 4 for 15 as Ireland cruised to a 62-run win that sees them head into the decider as the competition's only unbeaten team. Skipper Porterfield will know that will count for nothing against the Group B table toppers Afghanistan but Ireland can go into the game with confidence high after a thoroughly professional job here.
- Kevin O'Brien and John Mooney shared a vital partnership
- Runs for Kevin O'Brien
- John Mooney batting
- Successful appeal for Nasir Aziz
- Michael Gough says it's out
- UAE celebrate the wicket
- Trent Johnston
- Watching the game
- Boundary for Trent Johnston
- Trent Johnston is bowled
- Rohan Mustafa congratulated
- John Mooney and Max Sorensen
- Another wicket for Muruge
- Max Sorensen batting
- Alex Cusack batting
- UAE come off the field
- Trent Johnston bowling
- Miscue by Amjad
- Return to Gary Wilson
- Alex Cusack
- Kevin O'Brien
- Amjad batting
- James Shannon takes the catch
- James Shannon and Paul Stirling
- Max Sorensen all smiles
- Andy McBrine
- Max Sorensen impressed with four wickets
- Thumbs up from Max Sorensen
- Max on the big screen
- Return to Gary Wilson
- Kevin O'Brien salutes his wicket
- Ireland celebrate another wicket
- Easy catch for Kevin O'Brien
- Another wicket for Tim Murtagh
- The board lets him know he's on a hat-trick
- Kids enjoying the game
- Nasir Aziz is bowled by Tim Murtagh
- The stumps go flying
- Ireland close in on the win
- Paul Stirling bowling
- Sprawling effort by James Shannon
- Michael Gough signalled wide
- Tim Murtagh congratulated
- Stumping for Gary Wilson
- William Porterfield congratulates Paul Stirling
- Phil Simmons in relaxed mood
- Tim Murtagh and Max Sorensen took 8 wickets between them
- Man of the Match Max Sorensen