Sylhet: Ireland bolstered their chances of making it to the Super-10 after a disciplined bowling effort helped them post a 21-run win over United Arab Emirates under the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-affected Group B qualifying match of the ICC World T20, here on Wednesday.
Ireland's second victory in as many matches have put them on top of their group, ahead of the Netherlands and Zimbabwe, who have won a match each out of two. Ireland were 103 for three in 14.2 overs in pursuit of UAE's modest 123 for six when the heavens opened up. Under the D/L method, 83 was the par score for Ireland when it started raining.
Skipper William Porterfield (33 not out) and Ed Joyce (43) put on 80 runs for Ireland after opener Paul Sterling (8) was retired hurt. Sterling was hit on his elbow when he tried to pull Sharif Asadullah in the first over of the innings. He hit two fours of the same bowler before the pain became unbearable, forcing him to retire.
Invited to bat, UAE openers started well putting on 35 runs in five overs, before Faizan Asif was run out. Shaiman Anwar top-scored for the Irish side with a 28-ball 30. Opener Amjad Ali made 20 while Amjad Javed scored a brisk 19 with the help of three fours towards the end.
Ali struck fours boundaries while Anwar hit two sixes, in what was a mediocre batting display. Ireland bowling was led by Paul Stirling (2/12) and Kevin O'Brien (2/17). The other bowlers chipped in with useful contributions as the UAE batsmen found the going tough in this crucial match.
There was a fourth-wicket partnership of 42 runs between Anwar and skipper Khurram Khan (16), but UAE kept losing wickets at regular intervals in the face of some inspired bowling by the Irish.
Placed third in the standings, Ireland have won the only match they have played so far, while UAE are yet to open their account. Ireland will now take on the Netherlands on March 21 at the same venue while United Arab Emirates have suffered their second defeat.