Dubai: Ireland’s experienced batsman Ed Joyce cracked a brilliant unbeaten 116 runs and steered his team to a four-wicket win over the UAE in the first of the two-match series at the ICC Cricket Academy on Thursday.
Thirty-nine-year-old Joyce, who has played for England, hit 13 boundaries and one six during his match-winning knock made off 145 balls. He put on 131 runs partnership with Gary Wilson, who scored 53 off 83 balls, and they lifted Ireland from 91 for 5 to the target with four balls to spare after The UAE had posted 222 for 9 in 50 overs.
Middle-order batsman Rameez Shahzad’s knock of 75 from 111 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes went in vain.
Ireland won the toss and elected to field. The UAE lost their opener and skipper Rohan Mustafa for just two runs to the third ball of the third over when he got caught behind by wicketkeeper Neil O’Brien off Barry McCarthy. Ghulam Shabber joined debutant Ashfaq Ahmad. In the eighth over, Ahmad hit McCarthy for three consecutive boundaries. Shabber too batted smoothly, hitting Peter Chase for two successive boundaries in the ninth over. Ahmad too hit McCarthy for two consecutive boundaries in the 10th over and UAE were 51 for 1 at the end of the first 10 overs.
Chase provided the breakthrough in the 13th over by having Ahmad caught by George Dockrell for 35 which came off 35 balls with six boundaries. Ahmad and Shabber put on 45 runs for the second wicket. In the 16th over, Kevin O’Brien had Shabber caught behind by Neil for 21.
Shahzad began fluently with a boundary off Kevin and even hit Dockrell for a six. At the half way mark, UAE were 96 for 3. Soon Dockrell dismissed Mohammad Usman for 11. This brought in debutant Mohammad Boota. Shahzad kept the score board moving and hit Dockrell for two boundaries in the 40th over.
With 10 overs to go, the UAE were 154 for 4. Boota fell in the 43rd over to Chase giving wicketkeeper Neil another catch after scoring 37 runs off 51 balls with four boundaries. Shahzad hit Chase for a six but next man Adnan Mufti became Kevin’s second victim for 15 runs. In the 49th over, Boyd Rankin had Shahzad caught and bowled and also made Ahmad Raza giving Neil another catch. Zahoor Khan too fell giving Neil his fifth catch of the innings off McCarthy and UAE were restricted to 222 for 9 in 50 overs.
Ireland got off to a bad start with pacer Mohammad Naveed striking two vital blows. He dismissed opener Paul Stirling and one-drop batsman Andrew Balbirnie for duck. Porterfield and Ed Joyce put on 41 runs for the third wicket before pacer Zahoor had Porterfield caught behind for 28. Mustafa too had Neil caught behind for 4 while Raza trapped the dangerous Kevin leg before for 9. Wilson joined Joyce and destroyed UAE’s hopes of the victory.
Brief scores: Ireland bt UAE by four wickets. UAE 222 for 9 in 50 overs (Ashfaq Ahmad 35, Ghulam Shabber 21, Rameez Shahzad 75, Mohammad Boota 37, Boyd Rankin 2 for 26, Barry McCarthy 2 for 47, Peter Chase 2 for 50, Kevin O’Brien 2 for 39) Ireland 226 for 6 in 49.2 overs (William Porterfield 28, Ed Joyce 116no, Gary Wilson 53. Mohammad Naveed 2 for 45, Ahmad Raza 2 for 49) Man of the match: Ed Joyce.