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Sports

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Agencies
January 12, 2018

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Ireland prevail UAE courtesy Ed Joyce ton

Ireland prevail UAE courtesy Ed Joyce ton

DUBAI: Ed Joyce’s unbeaten century helped Ireland prevail by four wickets in the ODI tri-series opener against hosts UAE here on Thursday. Chasing 223 to get off the mark with a victory, the visitors were reduced to 91 for 5 inside 23 overs before a 131-run partnership between Joyce and Gary Wilson helped restore the chase.

After a splendid bowling effort to restrict UAE to just 222, Ireland didn’t get off to an ideal start with the bat. Mohammad Naveed was too hot to handle in his opening spell, as he sent back both Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie for ducks. Skipper William Porterfield and Joyce dropped anchor and put on 41 runs for the third wicket stand. But three wickets in quick succession tilted the balance in UAE’s favour once more. Wilson then joined hands with Joyce and the pair stitched a patient 131-run stand to put the chase back on track. Joyce, well set by then, played the lead role, bringing up his hundred in the 45th over. Three overs later, Wilson brought up his half-century off 79 deliveries.Wilson was dismissed when the scores were levelled, and fittingly Joyce hit a boundary in the final over to notch up the winning runs with four balls to spare. Earlier, Rameez Shahzad (75) anchored UAE’s innings to guide them to a respectable 222 from their allotted overs, after being put in to bat. Nearly all other men in the middle order too got starts but neither could convert them into a half-century. In an all-round bowling effort, Boyd Rankin, Barry McCarthy, Peter Chase and Kevin O’Brien all picked up two wickets apiece. McCarthy struck as early as in the fourth over, but a 45-run partnership between Ashfaq Ahmed and Ghulam Shabber stabilised the innings. Ireland hit back by taking out both the set batsmen in the space of four overs but UAE again made a comeback through a 74-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Shahzad and Mohammad Boota.

Brief scores: UAE 222/9 in 50 overs (Rameez Shahzad 75, Mohammad Boota 37, Boyd Rankin 2-26, Kevin O’Brien 2-39). Ireland 226/6 in 49.2 overs (Ed Joyce 116*, Gary Wilson 53; Mohammad Naveed 2-45).

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