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Ireland took a step closer to Super Ten qualification with a thoroughly convincing 21 run (D/L) win against the UAE in Sylhet.

A combination of floodlight failure and heavy rain forced the early abandonment of the game with Ireland 103-3 chasing a well below par UAE total of 123.

Ed Joyce scored a Man of the Match 43 from 38 balls, sharing an 80 run stand with skipper William Porterfield (33*) as Ireland cruised to the easiest of wins, despite a late flurry of wickets as they sought to improve their net run rate.

The pair had come together after Paul Stirling retired hurt following a blow to his elbow. Scans and a x-ray revealed no break, but tissue bruising. Hopefully he will be able to face the Netherlands in the final Round One game on Friday.

The win was set up by a professional all-round bowling display, which never let the UAE get any sort of momentum in their play.

Stirling showed his importance and versatility by claiming a double wicket maiden in his 2 for 12, while Kevin O'Brien's canny changes of pace saw him take 2 for 17, including the wicket of top scorer Shaiman Anwar (30).

Tim Murtagh justified his recall to the side by taking 1 for 20, dismissing the dangerous Emirati skipper Khurram Khan (16).

Skipper William Porterfield, speaking after the win explained the rationale behind the team selection: "Andy has been bowling really well for us over the last while. But it was kind of a horses for courses kind of decision.

"It was unfortunate for himself, but he understands that, and he's a great team man. But it wasn't a case of being dropped as such, it was a case of playing the attack that we felt best suited to the conditions on the day, and I think we got that right."

Ed Joyce felt the bowling display had been the key to the comfortable win: "I thought one of the bowlers should have got the Man of the Match award really, for the way we restricted them to 120 odd. However, it's always nice to get the recognition."

Joyce realizes though that the job is far from complete with The Netherlands to come in a vital clash. "I felt they fought really well after losing four wickets today in the first seven or eight overs, and got a good competitive score. They fought tooth and nail against a very good Zimbabwe side, and could have come out on top there. So it's a big game, and we'll be ready for it."

Photographs