Desert T20 Challenge: Ireland edge out Namibia in Abu Dhabi to keep alive hopes
|Desert T20 Challenge, Abu Dhabi:|
|Namibia 146-6 (20 overs): van der Westhuizen 50, Baard 32|
|Ireland 149-5 (19.4 overs) Poynter 38, Wilson 38 no, O'Brien 22|
|Ireland won by five wickets|
Ireland kept alive their hopes at the inaugural Desert T20 tournament as they beat Namibia by five wickets in a close contest in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing Namibia's 146-9, the Irish sneaked home with two balls to spare, helped by Gary Wilson's unbeaten 38 and two late Andy McBrine boundaries.
Earlier, Louis van der Westhuizen struck 50 for the Namibians with fellow opener Stephan Baard contributing 32.
They put on 81 for the first wicket in 8.4 overs as a big total looked likely.
However after van der Westhuizen's departure, the Namibian innings lost momentum as O'Brien, Joshua Little, Craig Young and Jacob Mulder all took two wickets.
Stuart Poynter also hit 38 for Ireland with O'Brien notching 22.
After the departures of Paul Stirling and skipper William Porterfield left the Irish on 25-2 after 3.4 overs, Poynter and O'Brien put on 48 for the third wicket before they were out in quick succession to leave the innings on 83-4.
At that stage, Ireland looked to be running out of batsmen but Wilson and Greg Thompson produced a crucial 45 partnership before McBrine's two boundaries in the final over helped guide the Irish to victory.
After losing their opener against Afghanistan on Saturday, the Irish needed a victory to get their qualification hopes back on track.
Victory against the United Arab Emirates, the hosts, in Dubai on Wednesday will guarantee the Irish a place in the semi-finals on Friday, with the final also taking place on the same day.
"It was great to be among the runs to see the team over the line and get the winning feeling again," said wicketkeeper Wilson who has joined Derbyshire from Surrey.
"It is a winner takes all contest against the hosts on Wednesday. We have a good record against the UAE so hopefully we can continue that in what is a big game for both teams."
Wilson acknowledged the role played in Tuesday's win by Ireland's stand-in opener Stuart Poynter - the Durham man a late call-up to the squad after injuries to Andrew Balbirnie and Stuart Thompson.
"All credit to Stu Poynter, as it's never easy coming in to a side when you haven't been selected first. He's a very clean striker of the ball and we saw that today," added Wilson.