Paul Stirling century leads Ireland to emphatic win over UAE

By Sports Desk June 27, 2023

Paul Stirling’s century earned Ireland their solitary win in the Cricket World Cup qualifiers with a dominant 138-run victory against the United Arab Emirates.

The opener’s impressive knock of 162 was complemented by half-centuries from Andy Balbirnie and Harry Tector, with the UAE unable to find valuable partnerships to chase a victory target of 350.

It was a bittersweet ending for Ireland, whose hopes of reaching the final six had already been dashed by defeats in their three previous matches, meaning they finished second-bottom in Group B.

After being put in to bat, Ireland lost Andy McBrine for 24 after he was lbw to Sanchit Sharma, but Stirling and captain Balbirnie ran riot as the pair put on 184 for the second wicket.

Ali Naseer found the long-awaited breakthrough in the 39th over as Balbirnie was caught for 66 and Stirling scored another 29 runs before he was caught by Karthik Meiyappan off Sanchit Sharma.

Tector added 57 before Sanchit Sharma struck again in the penultimate over, Meiyappan with another catch, and Ireland finished on 349 for four thanks to a tidy partnership of 23 from Lorcan Tucker and George Dockrell at the death.

The UAE got off to a decent start until captain Muhammad Waseem was run out for 45 and wicketkeeper Aryansh Sharma followed shortly after.

Josh Little struck in quick succession to dismiss Vriitya Aravind and Ethan D’Souza before McBrine struck twice in the 21st over to get rid of Naseer and Aayan Afzal Khan.

Basil Hameed put on a valuable 70-run partnership with Sanchit Sharma, the pair taking their side from 109 for six to 179 without further loss, but Hameed was dismissed by Dockrell for 39.

Curtis Campher then picked up two wickets in an over, Sanchit Sharma falling for 44 and Junaid Siddique for six, before Dockrell took the final wicket to hand Ireland the victory with 11 overs to spare.

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