Ireland 301 for 5 (Porterfield 139, Balbirnie 102, Mustafa 2-65) beat UAE (Shahzad 50, Kevin O’Brien 4-41) by 67 runs
A 201-run second-wicket stand, built around centuries from William Porterfield and Andy Balbirnie, followed by a four-wicket haul by Kevin O’Brien set up Ireland’s 67-run triumph over United Arab Emirates. In doing so, Ireland consigned the hosts to a second successive defeat in as many games in the ODI tri-series in Dubai.
Ireland’s decision to bat found early validation as Porterfield, the captain, got them off to a 44-run opening partnership with Paul Stirling. After Stirling (20) handed a return catch to Zahoor Khan in the ninth over, Porterfield joined forces with Balbirnie, trotting to a 147-ball 139 – his tenth ODI century – while plundering a combined 27 fours and three sixes with Balbirnie to propel the score to 301. Balbirnie, meanwhile, scored his maiden ODI century with the help of 12 fours and a six during their partnership that lasted 35.3 overs. Qadeer Ahmed struck in the 44th over, taking out Balbirne for a 109-ball 102. Just before Ireland reached 300, Mohammad Naveed had Porterfield caught and offspinner Rohan Mustafa’s double-strike in the last over accounted for the O’Brien brothers – Kevin and Niall – leaving UAE 302 to chase.
UAE started slow in the chase, losing their openers – Ashfaq Ahmed and Mustafa – in 8.3 overs for 40 runs. While Barry McCarthy and Peter Chase sniped out the first two wickets, Andy McBrine sniped out wicketkeeper-batsman Ghulam Shabber in the 20th over. A fourth-wicket stand of 68 runs between Rameez Shahzad and Muhammad Usman took UAE close to 150, before Shahzad was caught behind off McBrine for a 56-ball 50. Kevin O’Brien subsequently took out the next three wickets – inclduing two in the 41st over – and left UAE reeling at 199 for 7 with only nine overs left. No. 8 Mohammad Naveed’s 31-ball 25 helped UAE inch towards 250 before O’Brien found his fourth wicket in Zahoor and McCarthy his second in Naveed, rolling the home side over for 234 in 48.4 overs.