Brisbane: Wicketkeeper-batsman Gary Wilson hit a pacy 69-ball 80 and Kevin O'Brien cracked a whirlwind fifty as Ireland eked out a thrilling last over two-wicket win over a spirited UAE in their pool 'B' match of the cricket World
Cup, here today.
Chasing a challenging 279, man-of-the-match Wilson anchored the Ireland inning's with a superb fifty and shared two crucial stands with A Balbirnie (30) and Kevin for the fifth and sixth wicket respectively to take his team home with four balls to spare.
Shaiman Anwar (L) hits a shot. Pic/ AFP
Wilson forged a 74-run partnership with Balbirnie and then added 72 with Kevin, who had also contributed with two wickets in the UAE innings, as Ireland notched up their second win in as many matches to keep their quarter-finals campaign on track.
Earlier, put into bat, little-known Shaiman Anwar (106) became the first UAE batsman to notch up a World Cup hundred as they punched above their weight to post a commendable 276 for nine against the UK giant-killers.
The Asian minnows returned all guns blazing as their bowling attack, led by Amjad Javed (3/60) left Ireland tottering at 171-5 in 38.4 overs.
UAE bowlers created a lot of pressure but in the end it was the experience of Ireland's middle and lower order which helped them to chasing down the total.
Amjad was the top wicket-taker for UAE with a three-wicket haul, while captain Mohammad Tauqir (2/38) and Mohammad Naveed (2/65) took two wickets each. AM Guruge also scalped one wicket but in the end it was not enough.
Needing 10 runs off last 12 balls, No. 10 batsman George Dockrell (7 not out) smashed Amjad over extra cover for a
crucial boundary to end all hopes of a UAE win.
Ireland on their part kept it tight for most part of the match and had the UAE tied up in knots before the 35-year-old Anwar's maiden ODI ton, combined with number eight Amjad Javed's lively 35-ball 42 helped them post a rather big total.
The UAE, who lost their lung-opener to Zimbabwe and are lying second from bottom on the points table, were off to a
steady start with Amjad Ali (45) and Andri Berenger (13) putting on a 49-run opening stand.
However, the Irish kept a tight leash on the scoring rate for most part of the innings before Anwar helped the side break the shackles in the company of Javed.
Anwar was the most outstanding performer of the day with a craftily-paced knock, which rescued his team and also booked his place in the record books.
The veteran, who has modelled his technique on Indian legend Rahul Dravid, had two ODI fifties under his belt before today's eye-catching effort.
Anwar's knock was studded with 10 fours and a six and bettered the previous UAE best of 85. His 83-ball stay on the crease was ended by Max Sorenson in the 49th over when he induced an edge from the batsman, which was safely caught by Wilson.
Javed, on the other hand, smashed five fours during his entertaining innings which played a huge role in helping UAE break free. The duo stitched together a partnership of 107 runs for the seventh wicket.
Among the bowlers, Sorenson (2/60), Alex Cusack (2/54), Paul Stirling (2/27) and Kevin (2/61) shared the spoils.