Ireland claim Desert T20 semi-final spot

Wednesday 18th January 2017
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Gary Wilson hit 26 as Ireland secured their spot in the Desert T20 semi-finals with a 24-run victory against UAE in Dubai.

Contributions from Kevin O’Brien (40), Paul Stirling (39) and Wilson, who hit two fours and two sixes, helped Ireland post 161-6 from their 20 overs.

UAE’s reply never got going after being reduced to 21-5 within the first four overs. Amjad Javed (41 not out) and Mohammed Naveed (25 not out) added some late runs, but the hosts closed on 136-7 as Ireland progressed to the next round.

The Irish total included no fewer than eight sixes – having failed to clear the ropes in their two previous games in the tournament.

Top scorer O’Brien hit three of those on his way to quickfire 40 from just 27 balls, while Stirling and Wilson also hit two maximums.

The crucial stand for the Irish came from O’Brien and Wilson, who shared a fourth wicket partnership of 53 in just 33 balls to shift the momentum decisively in Ireland’s favour.

Greg Thompson (17) and Andy McBrine (14*) both chipped in as Ireland made their highest T20 total since June 2015.

Boyd Rankin (3-16) blew away any hopes the UAE entertained of chasing the total as he took three wickets in a fiery opening spell. Further wickets for Craig Young and Kevin O’Brien reduced the hosts to 21-5 to effectively end the match as a contest.

A late surge by skipper Amjad Javed who clubbed five sixes in an entertaining unbeaten 47 made the result seem much closer than it was. Javed added an unbroken 59 from just 26 balls in an 8th wicket stand with Mohammed Naveed (25*), but it was all too little, too late for his team.

Ireland won’t know their semi-final opponents until Thursday, with the Netherlands, Scotland and Oman vying for the two semi-final slots from Group B.

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