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.

Stuart Broad edged closer to adding his name to the Lord’s honours board but all-rounder Curtis Campher held up England’s charge in the afternoon session to guide Ireland to 162 for seven at tea.

Broad ripped through the Ireland top order during the first hour of the one-off Test with three wickets to reduce the tourists to 64 for four despite Paul Stirling’s entertaining knock of 30

When opener James McCollum edged behind soon after lunch to depart for 36 to give Broad a fourth scalp, Ireland were wobbling on 98 for five but Campher held firm.

Jack Leach grabbed his second scalp and Matthew Potts claimed a first Test wicket since August, but Campher’s unbeaten 32 saw Ireland make it through a second session.

England’s journey to Lord’s from their Kensington hotel had been delayed by five minutes due to Just Stop Oil protesters and enhanced security measures were put in place by the MCC to thwart any potential disruptions during the four-day Test.

With overcast conditions and a green wicket at the Home of Cricket, it was no surprise when Ben Stokes put Ireland into bat after he won the toss and Broad quickly set about trying to get his name on the honours board again.

In the absence of rested duo James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, the Nottinghamshire seamer produced a fine opening spell of three for 14 from five overs.

It did take Broad until the third over to make the breakthrough but Peter Moor, fresh from a century in the warm-up fixture at Essex last weekend, was pinned in front lbw for 10.

Broad’s next over produced even more drama with Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie out for a five-ball duck after he edged to second slip where Zak Crawley took an excellent low catch diving to his left.

Harry Tector followed his skipper back to the pavilion two balls later when he inexplicably flicked straight to Potts at leg slip but Broad was denied a hat-trick opportunity when an lbw decision against Stirling was overturned on review after ball-tracker showed it was missing leg stump.

It enabled Stirling to lead a mini-recovery for Ireland but his enterprising 30 was ended when his attempted sweep flicked off his glove and gave Jonny Bairstow a simple catch behind the stumps to help Leach get off the mark this summer.

Stirling had put on 45 for the fourth wicket with opener McCollum, who made it to lunch unbeaten on 29 but his pursuit of a maiden Test fifty ended early into the afternoon session.

Again it was the third over of Broad’s spell that did the trick, with McCollum squared up and only able to edge to Joe Root at first slip to depart for a hard-fought 36 off 108 deliveries.

Warm applause greeted Ireland’s hundred via a single from Lorcan Tucker, but the wicketkeeper became Leach’s second victim when he was hit on his front pad and a review adjudged the delivery to be clipping off-stump.

Campher and Andy McBrine tried to shift the momentum and take the attack to England, but Potts had the last laugh when the latter edged behind an 88.9mph delivery to Bairstow.

Debutant Josh Tongue continued to admirably back up the England attack and hit 91mph at one stage, but Campher survived his sharp bouncer and a concussion check to reach tea unbeaten.

Ireland cricketers Paul Stirling and Shane Getkate will not travel from the United States with the rest of the team to Jamaica for the upcoming series against the West Indies after testing positive for Covid-19.

Following a final round of PCR tests ahead of the team’s departure on Friday, the duo returned positive tests and will undergo a period of 10 days of isolation.  As a result, it is likely that the pair will not join up with the rest of the team until January 9, depending on the status of follow-up procedures.

The West Indies are scheduled to play Ireland in three One Day Internationals and a one-off T20 match, beginning on January 8.

Richard Holdsworth, High-Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, admits that the period continues to be challenging, particularly when trying to balance the physical health of players with their mental well-being.

"It is a challenging time for all, but the players have responded very well to operating within the Managed Environment over the last two weeks. A Managed Environment is different to a bio-bubble, and is an approach being used currently to try and find that balance between risk mitigation from the virus and impacts of sustained periods of isolation on the mental and physical health needs of players and staff.”

Lendl Simmons came up trumps for the Northern Warriors Friday in their seven-wicket win over Team Abu Dhabi with two balls to spare to advance to the final of the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament.

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