Paul Stirling and Curtis Campher show up UAE as Ireland dominate T20 World Cup warm up

National team go down to second loss in three days at ICC Academy in Dubai

UAE lost to Ireland at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Thursday. Antonie Robertson / The National
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At the start of this year, UAE enjoyed one of its finest ever days in cricket when the national team beat Ireland in a one-day international in Abu Dhabi.

Maybe it should not have been quite such a surprise the national team could topple a Test nation. After all, they had beaten the same side in the qualifying for the 2021 T20 World Cup at the same venue two years earlier, too.

It was Ireland, though, who made it through to play at that competition. As such, the ongoing three-match series between the two sides represents little more than a tune up for the main event for the Irish.

The home team, by contrast, will just be envious onlookers when the World Cup starts on October 17, demoted to the role of warm up acts for the major players.

The national team certainly look dispirited by their part in events so far in the T20 international series.

In the space of three days, they have been comprehensively outplayed by two sides who are tapering their preparations for their World Cup first round fixtures on October 18.

Following on from a 17-run loss to Namibia on Tuesday, UAE were soundly beaten by the Irish at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Thursday morning.

The margin of victory was seven wickets, and secured with seven balls to spare, but it was not even that close.

To say Ireland barely broke into a sweat while swatting aside their hosts would be a metaphorical rather than literal point.

Their openers were troubled far more by the morning heat at the ICC Academy than they were by the UAE bowlers, as they set about chasing down the 123-7 the hosts had made.

Paul Stirling went to 50 with successive sixes off Rohan Mustafa. He posted 90 for the first wicket with Kevin O’Brien – the 11th time the duo have had an opening stand worth a half-century in T20Is for Ireland.

Each ran out of puff before the victory was secured, as Basil Hameed nipped in with 3-20. But that only delayed the inevitable as Curtis Campher sealed the win for the Irish off the penultimate ball of the penultimate over.

While their batters made relatively short work of the chase, it was the Irish bowlers who had set the platform for the success.

Campher had starred with the ball, too, taking 3-9 from four overs, which included a maiden.

As probing as he and his bowling colleagues were, though, UAE’s total was way short of par, prompted by an insipid batting display.

The two sides meet again at the same venue on Friday morning.

Updated: October 07, 2021, 12:54 PM