Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland edge out UAE in Pool B

By Nick RoyleBBC Sport
Ireland batsman Kevin O'Brien
Ireland batsman Kevin O'Brien hit a 24-ball 50 to set up Ireland's victory
World Cup, Pool B, Brisbane:
UAE 278-9 (50 overs): Shaiman 106, Javed 42, Stirling 2-27
Ireland 279-8 (49.2 overs): Kevin O'Brien 50, Wilson 80, Javed 3-60
Ireland won by two wickets
Scorecard. Tables

Gary Wilson hit 80 to help Ireland to a nervy two-wicket World Cup win over the United Arab Emirates in Brisbane.

Shaiman Anwar scored a maiden ODI century as the UAE part-timers hit 147 from their last 15 overs to post 278-9.

They then pegged Ireland back to 97-4, but Kevin O'Brien (50) and Wilson put on 72 from 36 balls for the sixth wicket to help rebuild the innings.

Ireland, who have two wins from their opening two Pool B games, next face South Africa in Canberra on 3 March.

O'Brien and Wilson were both dismissed as William Porterfield's side closed in on the target, but Brisbane-born Alex Cusack and off-spinner George Dockrell kept their nerve to lead Ireland to victory with just four balls to spare.

Former England spinner Graeme Swann
"Ireland have put their fans through it today. I don't think I could have been an Ireland fan for the last 10 minutes. I now know why my dad refused to watch me play cricket in the last 10 years."

World cricket's governing body the ICC has decided to limit the next World Cup to 10 teams, but two associate sides who may struggle to qualify for the event in England in 2019 arguably played out the most exciting match of the tournament so far, one that was finally settled in the 100th and final over after 557 runs and 17 wickets.

The game ebbed and flowed, with Ireland reducing the UAE to 131-6 in the 35th over, before Shaiman (106 from 83 balls) and Amjad Javed (42 from 35 balls) put on a World Cup record seventh-wicket stand of 107 to set up a challenging total on a turning wicket.

Ireland struggled for any fluency in their reply, until the more expansively minded O'Brien joined Wilson at the wicket in the 39th over with 108 runs still needed.

Are the 'minnows' keeping the World Cup alive?
If Ireland and the UAE produced the most exciting finish of the World Cup so far, they are not alone among the associate nations in providing drama. Afghanistan caused Sri Lanka a scare before the 1996 champions prevailed by four wickets with 10 balls to spare, while Zimbabwe chased down UAE's 285-7 with only two overs and four wickets left.
Meanwhile, some of the matches between the full members have been far more one-sided, with England and Pakistan both suffering heavy losses in their opening two matches. New Zealand chased down England's total of 123 before the floodlights were even turned on, and Pakistan suffered a 150-run defeat to the West Indies. Even heavyweights India and South Africa could not provide a contest, the Proteas subsiding to a 130-run defeat.

O'Brien and Wilson's six-over partnership seemed to turn the match decisively in Ireland's favour, but when O'Brien, Wilson and John Mooney all fell in the final seven overs, the UAE sensed a first win over Ireland since 2001.

Dockrell and Cusack came together with 12 runs still needed from 15 balls, and after a series of wild swings and unconvincing hacks, the pair finally wrapped up victory in the final over.

Test Match Special statistician Andrew Samson
Ireland now have four of the top 10 highest successful run chases in World Cup history. Ireland chased down a target of 328 against England and 307 against the Netherlands in 2011, and 305 against the West Indies in their 2015 World Cup opener.
George Dockrell hit the winning runs
Spinner George Dockrell hit the winning runs for Ireland
Ireland batsman Gary Wilson
Gary Wilson hit a first international half-century for over a year in Ireland's two-wicket win over the UAE
UAE batsman Shaiman Anwar
Shaiman Anwar scored his first-ever ODI century in the UAE's two-wicket defeat by Ireland

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Pool B
2West Indies3210+1.344
4South Africa2110-0.682