Rohan Mustafa grabbed four wickets and smashed an electrifying 39 runs from 16 balls to set up a five-wicket win for the UAE over Ireland in the T20 World Cup Qualifier at Zayed stadium on Saturday.
Ireland opted to start with spinners George Dockrell and Paul Stirling and got it wrong against a UAE side comfortable against the slower bowlers, particularly in home conditions.
Mustafa smashed four fours from the first five deliveries he faced from Dockrell and in the next over hammered Stirling for three successive boundaries as the hosts raced to 32 runs in just two overs.
That knock set the platform for the UAE’s run-chase after bowling out Ireland for 125.
After Ashfaq Ahmed (3) fell early, Mustafa followed in the seventh over, but not before he had created a strong platform for the remaining batsmen to complete the job.
Darius D’Silva, who replaced Chirag Suri, and Mohammed Usman, shared 36 for the third wicket before the latter fell to a catch behind. UAE, now 97-3, needed just 29 from 48 balls.
The hosts then lost both Rameez Shahzad (3) and D’Silva (29) to needless run outs. Waheed Ahmed (15 not out) and Mohammad Boota (2 not out) took the UAE over the line for their team to bounce back from the heavy defeat to Oman on the previous night.
The UAE, electing to field first, began with spinners operating from both ends before bringing in medium pacer Junaid Siddiqui to provide the breakthrough in the third over.
Kevin O’Brien (14) flicked the first delivery towards the mid-wicket for Ashfaq to dive to his right and hold on to an excellent catch, and Ireland were 20-1.
Stirling was the only Ireland batsman to come up with a knock of substance. The opener held his team’s inning together with a well-compiled 58-ball 72.
Stirling ran himself out to a throw from the long-on fence when trying to steal a second run in the penultimate over. His departure saw a dramatic collapse as Ireland lost their last five wickets in eight balls for the addition of five runs.
In the other games on Saturday, Scotland bounced back from their shock defeat to Singapore in the opener, to beat Kenya by 31 runs.
The Netherlands made it two out-of-two with victory over Namibia by 44 runs. Jersey defeated Nigeria by 69 runs and Papua New Guinea coasted to a 10-wicket triumph over Bermuda.