Wicketkeeper-batsman Gary Wilson hit a pacy 69-ball 80 and Kevin O’Brien cracked a whirlwind fifty as Ireland eked out a thrilling last over two-wicket win over a spirited UAE in their pool B match of the cricket World Cup, here today.
Chasing a challenging 279, man-of-the-match Wilson anchored the Ireland inning’s with a superb fifty and shared two crucial stands with A Balbirnie (30) and Kevin for the fifth and sixth wicket respectively to take his team home with four balls to spare.
Wilson forged a 74-run partnership with Balbirnie and then added 72 with Kevin, who had also contributed with two wickets in the UAE innings, as Ireland notched up their second win in as many matches to keep their quarter-finals campaign on track.
Earlier put into bat, little-known Shaiman Anwar (106) became the first UAE batsman to notch up a World Cup hundred as they punched above their weight to post a commendable 276 for nine against the UK giant-killers.
The Asian minnows returned all guns blazing as their bowling attack, led by Amjad Javed (3/60) left Ireland tottering at 171-5 in 38.4 overs.
UAE bowlers created a lot of pressure but in the end it was the experience of Ireland’s middle and lower order which helped them to chasing down the total.
Amjad was the top wicket-taker for UAE with a three-wicket haul, while captain Mohammad Tauqir (2/38) and Mohammad Naveed (2/65) took two wickets each. AM Guruge also scalped one wicket but in the end it was not enough.
Needing 10 runs off last 12 balls, No. 10 batsman George Dockrell (7 not out) smashed Amjad over extra cover for a crucial boundary to end all hopes of a UAE win.