Ireland squeeze past UAE but must improve death bowling

William Porterfield’s have two World Cup wins but bowling in last 15 overs a concern

Gary Wilson’s 80 off 69 balls helped get Ireland’s run chase back on track in their two wicket win over the UAE at The Gabba, Brisbane. (Photograph: INPHO/PHOTOSPORT/Tertius Pickard)

Gary Wilson’s 80 off 69 balls helped get Ireland’s run chase back on track in their two wicket win over the UAE at The Gabba, Brisbane. (Photograph: INPHO/PHOTOSPORT/Tertius Pickard)

 

Ireland followed up their opening World Cup win over the West Indies with another against the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday morning and now they head to Canberra to play the formidable South Africa with four points on the board and as good a chance of progression from the group stage as they’re ever likely to have.

After their opening round heroics against an admittedly vulnerable West Indies, negotiating a way past the UAE looked a much easier task for William Porterfield’s side.

But Ireland were made to sweat for their win, with George Dockrell scooping the ball over the infield and scampering up and down in the final over to seal a victory which had followed a predictable pattern.

As against the West Indies, Ireland started brightly with the ball, restricting the UAE to 131/6 after 35 overs, before letting things slip and watching as Shaiman Anwar, who scored his country’s first tournament ton, and Amjad Navad plunder 147 runs in the closing 15.

Ireland’s poor bowling at the death and inability to keep things tight throughout the full 50 overs has been the main area for concern so far for coach Phil Simmons.

He said: “We will talk about it and see what is best for our type of bowlers and hopefully that’s what comes to our game against South Africa.

“We have to get better, we know that. There’s no question about it, we’ve been terrible in the last 15.”

Kevin O’Brien, who came to the rescue once again with a swashbuckling 50 to add to his growing list of match-winning World Cup innings, reiterated Simmons, he said: “It’s a great win. I think the second half of the batting and first half of the bowling was exceptional from us.

“But there’s an area for concern with the bowling at the death, and that’s something we need to think about.”

Anwar and Navad picked up a lot of their runs capitalising on a number of short balls and long-hops from Ireland, which according to Porterfield was a tactic deployed to try and tackle the large outfield at The Gabba.

He said: “It’s a massive ground square of the wicket, and you want to try and get teams hitting towards the bigger boundaries, but we didn’t get it 100% right.

“It’s a very difficult time of the game, when you have a team 130-6 it’s disappointing to come off the way they did, but you’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”

In reply to the UAE’s 278/9 Ireland got bogged down and were 98/4 off 26 when wicketkeeper Gary Wilson came to the crease and he, along with O’Brien, helped get the chase back on track with an imperious 80 off 69 balls.

Wilson has been scratching around for runs recently, but returned to form at a crucial time, he said: “I was confident going out there.

“Obviously I’ve been searching for a few runs going into this game but I was genuinely confident going out there. I was gutted (to get out) obviously, I would have loved to have been out there to see the boys home.”

Ireland had a nine day break between their opening game and Wednesday’s, but Willson felt the gap was beneficial to the side.

He said: “I think we had really good preparation coming into this game.

“It was good for us that we had a little break after the West Indies game because we build this up for four years now and considering the lack of cricket we’ve had - nine games against the top eight nations.”

Ireland’s win was the first game of the tournament to go into the final over, he added: “Just remind me, was it two teams outside the top eight who played and made it a good game?”

Next stop for Ireland is Canberra on March 2nd and a date with De Villiers and co.

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