x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Ireland knocks the lights out of UAE’s World Twenty20 campaign

With just Friday’s final pool match against Zimbabwe to play, it is no longer possible for the national team to qualify for the Super 10 stage, having lost to Ireland here.

Ireland's players celebrate after a job well done in the field against the UAE. AM Ahad / AP Photo
Ireland's players celebrate after a job well done in the field against the UAE. AM Ahad / AP Photo

SYLHET, BANGLADESH // The lights went out literally and figuratively on the UAE’s maiden World Twenty20 campaign last night after their second defeat in the competition was confirmed amid power cuts.

Ireland still required 18 runs, with seven wickets in hand, when all but the DJ booth and the LED advertising boards were plunged into darkness at the new international cricket stadium.

The floodlighting was restored long enough for one-and-a-half overs to be completed. It then cut out again.

By the time the latest delay was resolved, an electrical storm had arrived to curtail the game.

As such, Ireland were confirmed victors as they were way ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par-score at the time. They were granted a 21-run win as per that logarithm.

While the manner of a second comprehensive defeat will no doubt have hurt, at least there were some reasons to be cheerful for the UAE.

The part-time cricketers of the national team at least will not have to worry about asking their employers for more time off.

With just Friday’s final pool match against Zimbabwe to play, it is no longer possible for the UAE to qualify for the Super 10 stage after last night’s defeat.

They were comprehensively beaten by an Irish side who top the group after this win, having beaten Zimbabwe earlier.

“I think we were 30 or 40 runs short again on this wicket and it was because we didn’t score enough runs in the finishing overs,” said Khurram Khan, the UAE captain. “That has been a trend for the past two or three games and it is a problem for us.

“But we can’t take any credit away from Ireland, they bowled very well.”

The UAE made 123 for six in their 20 overs. While Ireland were generally untroubled in the chase, losing just the three wickets, they did have one major concern.

Paul Stirling, their free-scoring opening batsmen, had to retire hurt and headed straight to hospital for an X-ray after he was hit on the right elbow by Asadullah Shareef. It was later confirmed as nothing worse than bruising.

Asadullah, who came into the side after Manjula Guruge was dropped, was the most successful of the UAE’s bowlers.

In addition to unsettling Stirling, the Ajman-based seamer dismissed both Ed Joyce and Kevin O’Brien.

He never had the requisite runs to work with, however, as the Irish powered to the win, with Joyce top scoring in the chase with 43.

“With the position in the group it was important to win well, but also to make a statement against our fellow associates that we are still at the top of the tree,” Joyce said.

“It was good to get a relatively easy win. Hopefully we can get past the Netherlands [on Friday].

“It was always our plan coming to the World T20 to get to the second stage and pit our wits against the big boys.

“Hopefully we are on track to do that. The wicket probably suited us more than we might have expected and the credit goes to the bowling attack.”

Shaiman Anwar hit two vast sixes as he top scored for the national team with 30. When he fell, caught and bowled by O’Brien, the runs dried up for the UAE.

Amjad Javed found the boundary three times, but the big-hitting Emirates cargo loader’s scoring rate was clipped by canny bowling by the Irish.

Stirling, who could have a significant hand to play in the tournament for Ireland, dismissed Amjad Ali and Swapnil Patil in the same over as he ended with figures of two for 12 in his three overs.

O’Brien also had Javed caught on the boundary as he ended with two for 17 from four overs.

“[This tournament] has been a learning experience for us, and it is going to help us a lot,” Khurram said.

“This is the world stage and we have never been exposed to anything like this before.

“We are learning a lot and we started working hard even before the World Cup qualifier in New Zealand in January, but there wasn’t enough time before this tournament.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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