Ed Joyce century leads Ireland to win against UAE

Irish momentum building towards World Cup qualifiers in March

 Ed Joyce keeps an eye in case the ball hits the stumps. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye

Ed Joyce keeps an eye in case the ball hits the stumps. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye

 

Ed Joyce scored an unbeaten century to get new Ireland coach Graham Ford’s reign off to a successful start with a four-wicket win over the UAE in Dubai.

The Dubliner shared a vital sixth wicket stand of 131 with Gary Wilson as the pair rescued the Ireland side from a precarious 91 for 5 as they chased the host’s total of 222 for 9.

Joyce missed last month’s series win against Afghanistan due to a knee injury, but appeared well recovered in scoring his sixth ODI century, and his 10th overall for Ireland.

Joyce finished undefeated 116 from 149 balls, hitting the last of his 13 fours to seal victory with four balls to spare, and also cleared the ropes once in a batting master-class.

Gary Wilson proved the perfect foil for Joyce, exhibiting all his nous and experience in a vital 53, his 12th ODI half-century and his 29th in all formats for Ireland.

The pair were seperated before the end, however, by Wilson falling to Ahmed Raza (2-29) with the scores level.

Mohammad Naveed (2-45) had removed both Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie without scoring, and despite a breezy 28 from skipper William Porterfield, Ireland were in real trouble. That trouble became a crisis with the O’Briens going cheaply and it took a record one-day partnership against the Emiratis to deny them a famous win.

Wickets

Earlier in the day the Irish attack turned in a steady display with four of the five bowlers used taking a brace of wickets.

Boyd Rankin – winning his 100th cap – took two for 26 to reach the 150 wicket landmark, while George Dockrell’s wicket also saw him reach the 250 wickets milestone.

Kevin O’Brien (2-39), Barry McCarthy (2-47) and Peter Chase (2-50) were also among the wickets as Ireland bowled well at the death to keep the UAE total in check.

Rameez Shahzad top scored with 75 from 111 balls (7 fours, 2 sixes) sharing a fifth wicket partnership of 74 in 15 overs with Mohammad Boota (37).

The pair took the hosts to 175 for 4 with more than seven overs to go, but Ireland applied the brakes successfully, which was to prove crucial.

Joyce was delighted his innings secured the win, which keeps the Irish momentum going as they build towards the World Cup qualifiers in March.

“It’s difficult to come out of our winter straight away and hit our straps having been indoors, but it’s great to get the win and back up the series victory over Afghanistan and keep that winning streak going,” said Joyce.

“I didn’t realise I’d passed 10,000 List-A runs but I’ve been playing a long time. It felt great to get the hundred. I didn’t feel in great nick going into the game but felt in physically good shape and that hasn’t been the case for a while. That made the difference today, with Gary and myself ensuring we got over the line with a very mature partnership.

“We had a few soft dismissals but you’ll get that with the players being a little rusty. We’ll tighten up the batting and the first 10 overs with the ball and improve in the games ahead.”

The teams meet again on Saturday at the same venue.

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