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Ireland win tournament

ICC World T20 qualifiers update - Final Report

by Jordan Rowson

Ireland retained their crown at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifying tournament with a 68-run win over Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates today.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first in Abu Dhabi, unbeaten Ireland set about posting a competitive total immediately. Openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling’s 60-run stand at the crease confirmed their intentions before captain Porterfield (27, 14b) was beaten by a fuller ball on the off stump by Hamza Hotak after 5.3 overs.

Stirling built on his promising start and started to inflict serious damage on the Afghanistan attack with steady support from Kevin O’Brien (20, 12b) as Ireland reached 115-2 at the halfway stage. Stirling’s (76, 43b) remarkable innings eventually came to an end four overs later when he directed a Hotak full toss towards Mohammad Nabi at extra cover.

The punishment wasn’t to stop there as Trent Johnston entered the fray in his last ever appearance for Ireland in One Day Internationals. The all-rounder certainly signed off in style with the bat as he stormed his way to a classy 62 from just 32 deliveries including 5 fours and 4 huge maximums.

He eventually fell to Shapoor Zadran, who found himself on a hat-trick after dismissing John Mooney (12, 6b) the previous ball. He wasn’t to get it and Ireland finished with an enormous 225-7 after their 20 overs, the tournament's highest total.

In reply, you wouldn’t have thought Afghanistan were up against the highest chase in T20 history as they, and Mohammad Shahzad in particular got about their chase with Shahzad crashing a gigantic six followed by two fours from the first three balls.

Despite losing Nawroz Mangal (14, 10b), who was caught and bowled by George Dockrell, it remained that way as Afghanistan moved on to 58-1 after five overs. Dockrell then removed dangerman Shahzad for his second wicket as he lofted a shot straight to James Shannon at mid-on. A real turning point then came when Alex Cusack was introduced into the attack. He removed Nabi (6,6b) and then a scoreless Karim Sadiq (0,1b) in the very next delivery to leave Afghanistan wobbling on 76-4 after 7.

That then became 101-4 at the halfway stage with Gulbadin Naib 21* (10b) going well at the crease. Max Sorenson then dismissed Mirwais Ashraf (22,17b) two balls later with Afghanistan requiring 12.50 an over.

Johnston was eager for a wicket on his last appearance and got his way when he removed the threatening Naib (43,19b) and then Samiullah Shenwari (5,7b) in successive balls to edge Ireland closer to victory. He picked up his third in the shape of Najibullah Zadran (4,6b) to finish on figures of 4-1-34-3 and sign off in dream fashion, securing man of the match as Afghanistan faltered to 157 all out to leave Ireland champions.

Leicestershire’s Niall O’Brien did not feature today but played his part in Ireland’s success in what was a lengthy tournament in the United Arab Emirates. Ireland will start preparing for the ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh next year. Foxes all-rounder Rob Taylor also featured in the tournament for Scotland who finished 7th in the tournament, narrowly missing out on World Cup qualification.

ICC World T20 qualifiers update - Friday, November 29

Ireland reached the final of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifying tournament after a superb 62-run win in their semi-final against hosts United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi today.

Having won the toss and electing to bat, Ireland made a nervy start and lost in-form openers William Porterfield (7, 8b) and Paul Stirling (16, 16b) to the impressive Manjula Guruge as well as James Shannon (7, 8b), who was trapped lbw by Shadeep Silva.

With the UAE revelling in home advantage, it got worst for the Irish as Silva this time held on at short fine-leg to Gary Wilson’s (3, 8b) reverse sweep off the bowling of Rohan Mustafa to leave the score at 42-4 after 7.3 overs.

John Mooney then joined Kevin O’Brien as the pair looked to turn things around. Both batsmen were on the back foot at times but managed to make steady contributions with O’Brien hitting 31 from 25 balls and Mooney battling to 29 from 31 deliveries.

An 18-ball blast from Trent Johnston as he hit 35 to top-score for Ireland also went a long way towards posting a competitive total of 147-8 after 20 overs.

An impressive performance was required in the field if Ireland were to topple the buoyant hosts. It started in exactly that fashion as Mohammed Azam’s (1,6b) brief and troubled stay at the crease came to an end when Max Sorenson had him removed.

Sorenson would soon have his second and third victims as he bowled Shaiman Anwar (13,13b) and trapped Khurram Khan (0,3b) lbw in quick succession to leave the UAE in trouble on 26-3 after 5 overs.

Tim Murtagh then continued Sorenson's brilliance, ripping through UAE's lower order to stun the home crowd. He removed Mohammad Shafiq (0,2b), Asim Khurshid (0,1b) and Nasir Aziz (2,4b) in a blistering spell to record figures of (4-0-24-4).

Man of the match Sorenson finished on (4-1-15-4) with Kevin O'Brien (3-0-18-1) and Paul Stirling (1.4-0-7-1) also amongst the wickets in a vital victory. Leicestershire’s Niall O’Brien did not feature today.

The final on Saturday, which is shaping up to be a brilliant encounter, will see Ireland face Afghanistan - who secured their 3rd consecutive final spot with a comfortable 7-wicket win over Nepal in their semi-final today.

After experiencing the heartbreak of losing out on World Cup qualification yesterday, Scotland bounced back with a last-ball five-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in the 7th place play-off in Abu Dhabi.

After losing the toss, Scotland were elected to field first. Despite losing only the wicket of Charles Amini (18,16b), Papau New Guinea were restricted to 66-1 at the halfway stage after some economical Scottish bowling. Solid knocks from Geraint Jones (25, 21b) Jack Vare 35* (24b) though, helped them on to post a total of 143-5 from their twenty overs.

Majid Haq (4-0-25-3) and Neil Carter (4-0-19-2) were the stand out bowlers for Scotland with Leicestershire’s Rob Taylor not bowling today. Chasing 144 to seal a 7th place finish, Scotland got off to an indifferent start. They went from 29-0 in the fourth over to 31-3 by the end of the sixth, losing yesterday’s danger-men in Matt Machan 1 (5b) and Michael Leask (0,4b) cheaply.

At the end of over 17, Scotland required 31 runs from 18 balls after captain Kyle Coetzer (35, 33b) and opener Richie Berrington successfully steered their innings back in the right direction. The skipper was run out just four balls later though adding one more to his total and setting up a tense finish with the Scots requiring 21 from the last 12 balls.

All-rounder Taylor was the next man in and contributed with a run-a-ball 6 before Raho held a catch off the bowling of Hicks. That left 11 off four balls, and that was reduced to 8 off two deliveries. Matthew Cross, who had not faced a ball at that stage, crashed a six and four to clinch a dramatic win alongside the ever-present, brilliant Berrington 70* (55b).

ICC World T20 qualifiers update - Thursday, November 28

Rob Taylor’s Scotland missed out on a place at next year’s ICC World T20 World cup with an eight-wicket loss to Netherlands in the play-off final of the qualifying tournament in the United Arab Emirates today.

Playing at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Scotland won the toss and elected to bat first. They made the worst possible start when they lost both openers Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod without scoring inside the first eight deliveries.

With the score at 1-2 there was enormous pressure placed on the shoulders of new batsmen Matt Machan and Michael Leask.

But the duo did more than steady the ship as they revitalised the Scottish innings with a 106-run partnership at the crease before Leask (58,46b) fell to a tremendous catch from Ben Cooper off the bowling of Michael Swart. A possible turning point in what was a vital game for both sides.

Machan (61,53b) saw his promising innings come to an end as he was dismissed by the impressive Jamil (4-0-24-2) shortly after securing his fourth half-century of the tournament. Leicestershire’s Taylor then hit a quickfire 7 not out from eight deliveries to help Scotland post a total of 147-6 from their 20 overs.

In reply, Netherlands made a healthy start and were 83-2 at the halfway stage. They did lose a scoreless Stephan Myburgh (0,4b) early on but the dangerous Cooper (40,28b) helped swing things back in their favour before Matthew Cross had him removed with a fine stumping off the bowling of Majid Haq.

The brilliant Wesley Barresi 75* (47b), with great support from Swart 30* (28b) then proved to be the telling thorn in Scotland’s side as the pair went on to help Netherlands secure an eight-wicket win and crucially, a place at the ICC T20 World Cup. Taylor was Scotland’s most economical bowler as he bowled 3 overs at a rate of 0-15.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Nepal secured their first ever place at a global event with a dramatic last-ball victory against Hong Kong. They, with Netherlands now join Afghanistan and Niall O’Brien’s Ireland as successful qualifiers for the World Cup in Bangladesh.

* With all qualification places now decided, the remainder of the tournament will decide the final placings for this tournament. Ireland take on UAE in the semi-final while Scotland tackle Papua New Guinea in the 7th place play-off. Both games take place tomorrow.

ICC World T20 qualifiers update - Wednesday, November 27

Rob Taylor's Scotland are through to the final of the play-offs in the ICC World T20 Qualifying tournament. Scotland had a comfortable seven-wicket win against Italy in Abu Dhabi and will now face Netherlands tomorrow for a place in the tournament proper.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Italy could only post 125-8, with Neil Carter and Safyaan Sharif each taking two wickets. Taylor picked up 1-13 from his two overs. In reply, Scotland chased down their target with 15 balls left thanks in large to a superb opening stand of 112 betwen Richie Berrignton (52, 44b) and Calum MacLeod (56, 45b).

Scotland lost three quick wickets but still eased past Italy, who were eliminated from the competition. Leicestershire's Taylor was not required to bat on this occasion. The team will now face Netherlands, who have another chance to qualify despite losing by 10 runs to the UAE today. After scoring 117-8, UAE's bowlers did extremely well to restrict Netherlands to 107-9.


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