Wilson hoping it will be alright on the night
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
WILLIAM Porterfield could not face the post-match captain’s interview after Ireland’s final game of their pre-World Twenty20 tour of Australia and the UAE.
The skipper had just scored 72 of his side’s 128 runs but, unbelievably, it was not enough to get up past UAE’s total of 133, giving the Emirates only their third ever victory over Ireland and their first since 2001. Nine of Porterfield’s fellow batsmen contributed a total of just 27 runs.
If it was a one-off, it could be passed off as just that but, following a T20 qualifying tournament when they posted only one total in excess of 130, they have played another five games in the shortest format, in the last 10 days, with a best of 134-8, a total which is unlikely to win any match at a World Cup.
Porterfield sent out his new (unofficial) vice-captain Gary Wilson to give the analysis of their latest defeat and he was relying on history repeating itself next month.
“When it comes to world tournaments, we get it right more often than not. That is our strength and we are confident we can put it right in India. We are an experienced team and our backs have been against the wall plenty of times before and we have come out the right side,” said Wilson.
As the squad spend a week at home before they head to the sub-continent, however, that would appear to be wishful thinking. Ireland have not come through a World T20 group stage since the first of their four appearances in 2009.
IRELAND V UAE MATCH REPORT
JUST three weeks from Ireland’s first match at the World Twenty20, their batting problems remain unresolved after UAE claimed a stunning five runs victory in Abu Dhabi.
When captain William Porterfield and Paul Stirling added 61 in just seven overs, needing only another 73 runs for victory, it looked as if the Ireland top order were, finally, going to make a meaningful contribution.
Stirling was bowled for 28 but although Stuart Poynter scored only 10 of the next 30 runs from 13 balls, there was still no panic. However when the Ireland No 3 was bowled, the slide proved irreversible.
Not one of the remaining eight batsmen survived more than six balls, no-one scored more than five and only Stuart Thompson was caught in the deep. Porterfield’s run-out – for 72 from 60 balls eight fours and a six - by the wicket-keeper proved the fatal blow.
Even then, Ireland needed only 13 from 10 balls but Max Sorensen, run out going for a second, and George Dockrell, bowled, were dismissed to the first two balls of the last over, Boyd Rankin failed to lay a bat on the next three and Tim Murtagh’s attempt to hit the final ball for six to earn a Super Over ended in a tame single.
It was Rankin, Sorensen and Murtagh who had ensured Ireland were chasing a below-par total on a much better pitch than when they won the first game on Sunday, as they conceded just 12 runs in the last three overs after Dockrell had conceded 17 in the 17th over, which included one of the seven wides Ireland bowled; UAE bowled none.
In-form Kevin O’Brien missed the match but, chasing such a modest total, his runs should not have been needed and now Ireland have only two warm-up games – against Hong Kong and Zimbabwe - to build confidence and momentum before their opening World Twenty20 match in Dharamsala against Oman.
The squad return home tonight – the bowlers have been away for more than a month - but leave again next Wednesday for a training camp in Mohali.
Scores: UAE 133-7 (S Patil 31; B Rankin 3-17, M Sorensen 2-16) Ireland 128-9 (W Porterfield 72, P Stirling 28) UAE won by 5 runs.