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Niall O'Brien was part of the Ireland side that won the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final against Afghanistan in Dubai.
Requiring 347 to win, Afghanistan resumed day four on 136-5 with Rahmat Shah (84*, 246b) and Mohammad Nabi (49, 179b) at the wicket.
The duo extended their alliance to 114 before Max Sorensen trapped Nabi lbw, and Ireland went on to clinch victory with John Mooney again proving a key figure.
Mooney took the final four wickets of the second innings to end with figures of 5-36, and that meant the seamer ended with an outstanding match analysis of 10-81. George Dockrell also finished with good figures of 3-58 off 34 probing overs.
Afghanistan were bowled out for 224, so the margin of victory was 122 runs. It capped off an excellent year for Ireland, who won the ICC World T20 qualifiers recently and also qualified for the 50-over World Cup earlier in 2013.
Niall O’Brien top-scored as Ireland closed in on victory in the ICC Intercontinental Final against Afghanistan in Dubai.
O’Brien’s well-constructed 87 (198b) helped Ireland post an excellent 341 in their second innings. The Leicestershire batsman shared 110 with Ed Joyce (78, 138b) for the third wicket, and 81 for the fourth with Andrew White (39, 76b).
Niall’s brother Kevin also chipped in with a typically hard-hit 47 from just 43 deliveries, including nine fours.
Ireland therefore set Afghanistan 347 to win and by stumps on day three, they had slipped to 136-5 as spinner George Dockrell snared 3-28 off 16 overs. O’Brien took an excellent one-handed catch to help John Mooney dismiss Nawroz Mangal.
Niall O'Brien played an important role as Ireland hit back brilliantly on the second day of the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final against Afghanistan in Dubai.
After being dismissed for 187 and seeing their opponents close on 81-3 on day one, Ireland forced a first innings lead. They bowled out Afghanistan for 182 in 77.5 overs, which was a fine effort indeed.
John Mooney led the way with 5-45 and George Dockrell picked up 3-52. O'Brien claimed a good haul of five dismissals, including two stumpings and a catch off slow left armer Dockrell.
Ireland made a much better fist of their second innings, and closed on 159-2. Ed Joyce (74*, 132b) and Leicestershire batsman O'Brien (40*, 105b) shared an unbroken 106 for the third wicket to put their side in command. Ireland will therefore take a 164-run advantage into day three, and they have eight second innings wickets intact.
Afghanistan gained the upper hand in the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final against Ireland on the first day in Dubai. Despite John Anderson (55) and John Mooney (33) sharing 54 for the 6th wicket, Ireland were bowled out for 187 in 61 overs.
Leicestershire’s Niall O’Brien (7) played on to Dawlat Zadran, who was the pick of the attack with 4-44, after batting at number four. Mooney (7-1-26-3) then picked up three wickets, including Nawroz Mangal caught behind by O’Brien, as Afghanistan closed on 81-3.
Ireland will therefore take a 106-run lead into day two but Afghanistan have seven first innings wickets intact with four days of the game remaining.