x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Ageing Trent Johnston wants Ireland teammates on the plane to 2015 World Cup in Australia

Sharjah pitch rarely offers any assistance to fast bowlers, yet he prospered with four for 25 to knock the heart out of the UAE batting order.

Ireland's Trent Johnson, right, rejoices after dismissing UAE's Swapnil Patil during the second ODI match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Satish Kumar / The National
Ireland's Trent Johnson, right, rejoices after dismissing UAE's Swapnil Patil during the second ODI match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Satish Kumar / The National

SHARJAH // Trent Johnston, the veteran bowler, says he definitely will not be on the plane back to the country of his birth, Australia, for the next World Cup - in spite of doing everything in his power to get his Ireland team get there.

The former Ireland captain, who was born in New South Wales and retains a distinct Australian brogue despite living in Ireland for so long, gave an exhibition in how swing bowlers should perform at Sharjah yesterday.

This ground rarely offers any assistance to bowlers of his ilk, yet he found a way to prosper as he took four for 25 to knock the heart out of the UAE batting order.

By the end of it he was visibly beat, hunkering on his haunches. Being well into his 39th year and given the heat, he could be forgiven for that.

And besides, his efforts had paved the way for a six-wicket win that means the Irish may as well book their tickets to the 2015 World Cup.

With four matches remaining in this qualifying league, they are six points clear of second place.

"I won't be on that plane unless [Phil Simmons, the Ireland coach] wants a bowling coach or something like that," Johnston said.

"My concern is getting the guys on that plane.

"I am still enjoying it, we have been successful for a long period of time now and I hope that can continue."

Thanks to Johnston's efforts with the new ball, the UAE were restricted to 195 all out and the Irish batsmen appeared in little trouble chasing their target for the loss of just four wickets.

William Porterfield, Johnston's successor as captain, anchored the chase with 77, which was the third time in four innings he has passed 50 over the past week.

"Getting these two wins puts us one step closer and we are in a pretty good position but we can't get complacent," Porterfield said.

"Mathematically we can do it if we get two wins in Holland [on Ireland's next outing in the competition] so that is what we will be aiming for."

The UAE's victory pursuit was undermined by injudicious stroke play, which saw them lose wickets in clusters.

It was the same failing that had blighted their opening game against the same opposition two days earlier and was a frustration for their captain Khurram Khan.

"We made the same mistakes again, we had a poor start, lost wickets at regular intervals and we were always playing catch up," he said.

"The guys fought back very well, and although Ireland are the top team among the Associate [nations] I think the guys acquitted themselves very well."

The fact they were beaten by the side commonly regarded as the best at this strata of the game was of little consolation for the UAE coach Aaqib Javed.

"When you are competing everyone wants to win and go all the way," he said.

"But I think it is a good experience for the UAE players to have seen a standard that is really high."

pradley@thenational.ae

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