Ireland well positioned to see off UAE

After beating Zimbabwe, only two matches away from reaching next goal

Ireland all-rounder  Kevin O’Brien is positive ahead of UAE match.

Ireland all-rounder Kevin O’Brien is positive ahead of UAE match.


Having been set the mammoth task of effectively winning a dozen matches to qualify for Super 10s stage at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, Ireland moved within two of that goal on Monday with a dramatic last-ball victory over Zimbabwe in Sylhet.

They are back at the same venue on Wednesday evening for a game against a United Arab Emirates side that lost their Group B opener against the Netherlands by six wickets.

Home patch
Ireland twice beat the UAE on their home patch during an unbeaten nine-game run through the qualifying event in Abu Dhabi back in November. They were two contrasting victories mind, a nail-biter by five runs in the group stages after the home side lost their last four wickets in six balls and a stroll in the semi-final when Max Sorensen and Tim Murtagh took four wickets apiece to bowl UAE out for 85 after Ireland had made 147 for eight.

Ireland’s spin trio of George Dockrell, Andy McBrine and Paul Stirling helped to restrict Zimbabwe to 163 for five in Monday’s opening clash, bowling their 12 overs for just 68 runs and taking four wickets.

A noticeable change in bowling conditions occurred in Ireland’s reply though, with Zimbabwe’s seamers getting the ball to swing appreciably as the stadium lights took full effect.

With the UAE match starting under lights, Sorensen believes the seamers will get more help this time around.

‘Swing a bit’
“It seems like at night time it does swing a bit and we’re playing under lights tomorrow. I’m sure the toss will be interesting with the issue of dew around as well,” said Sorensen.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons usually keeps changes to a minimum once a tournament begins but the case for including a genuine swing bowler like Murtagh could see a change.

Ireland all-rounder Kevin O’Brien believes the wicket in Sylhet gives Ireland an advantage over the UAE, who will also need to drastically improve their fielding and catching after some rank bad efforts at both against the Dutch.

“I think it’s a great cricket wicket, there’s a bit of pace for our quicker bowlers and if you get in as a batsman you can play through the line and score quickly as we saw yesterday,” said O’Brien.

“It favours us, there’s not as much spin as there was in the UAE in November, so that will play into our hands potentially from a batting point of view, and also bowling.”

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