T20 World Cup Qualifier: Ireland thrash Nigeria by eight wickets to move top of group
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
|ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi:|
|Nigeria 66-9 (20 overs): Adedeji 19; Young 4-13, Adair 2-10|
|Ireland 67-2 (6.1 overs): O'Brien 32|
|Ireland won by eight wickets|
|Scorecard and standings (external site)|
Ireland face an anxious wait to see if they will qualify automatically for the World Cup after moving top of Group B in the T20 Qualifiers in Abu Dhabi by beating Nigeria by eight wickets.
Ireland will remain top of the group and progress if Jersey can upset Oman in their final group game on Sunday.
Craig Young took 4-13 as Nigeria were restricted to 66-9 off their 20 overs.
Ireland took just 6.1 overs to make 67-2 in reply, Kevin O'Brien top-scoring with 32.
If Oman win on Sunday, Ireland will go into a play-off against the third-placed side from Group A - which is currently Scotland.
After losing the toss and being asked to bowl first, it did not take long for coach Graham Ford's side to assert their dominance.
Leg-spinner Gareth Delany struck first, cleaning up opener Daniel Ajeku who tried to go back and cut a ball too close to his stumps and was beaten in flight.
Two further wickets fell soon after, and the Nigerians found themselves struggling at 13-3 after five overs.
From that point the African side never recovered, with the Irish bowlers bowling a consistent line and length on a sluggish-looking pitch.
For Ireland, Young claimed his career-best figures from his four overs, while Mark Adair went top of the tournament wicket-taking chart with 2-10 from his four overs.
With the state of the Group B table, at the halfway stage Ireland's batters knew they had to knock off the target in nine overs to go top of the group. In the end they achieved their target off only 37 balls.
Paul Stirling (11) fell early, and O'Brien (32) lost his wicket late on, but Gareth Delany (11 off eight balls) and Mark Adair (10 off four balls) saw their side home at a rapid rate.