Ireland beat UAE in T20 international in Abu Dhabi

Kevin O'Brien led the way with three for 14 as Ireland successfully defended 134

Cricket, Ireland, UAE,

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ireland's seam bowling quintet led them to a 34 run victory against the UAE in the first T20 International at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Having been put in to bat by the hosts, Ireland's top order struggled with William Porterfield, Paul Stirling, Stuart Poynter and Gary Wilson all going cheaply to leave them reeling on 19 for 4.

The O'Brien brothers then came to the rescue with a vital fifth wicket stand of 55 in 48 balls; Niall hit two fours and a six among his haul, while Kevin hit 23 from 29 deliveries.

When Andy McBrine fell for just one, Ireland were once again struggling but the depth of the Irish batting proved their saviour as Max Sorensen (26), Boyd Rankin (16), and Tim Murtagh (12) all cleared the ropes to add 44 runs in the final four overs

Ireland finished on 134 for 8, 20 of those coming from the last over.

Buoyed by their success with the bat, the Irish seamers continued that momentum in the UAE innings, with Tim Murtagh, Craig Young and Boyd Rankin all taking early wickets to reduce their opponents to 30 for 4.

Kevin O'Brien's fine recent form with the ball continued as he claimed 3 for 14 - including the vital wicket of top scorer Shaiman Anwar. 

Murtagh (2-20), Young (2-26) and Sorensen (1-23) wrapped up the innings with UAE making exactly 100.

Speaking after the win Kevin O'Brien backed the top order to come good despite their recent lack of runs. "I'm not worrying at the moment about the top order collapses. We just need to assess pitch conditions and perhaps play accordingly.

"But we are looking to be positive when batting, so we can't go into our shells. We need to continue to back ourselves and play with no fear."

O'Brien admitted he was happy to play second fiddle to elder brother Niall during their crucial 5th wicket stand.

"It was important for us to consolidate a little after the early wickets but it helped that Niall was batting really well and striking the ball nicely, When your partner is batting like that, it's best to give him as much strike as I could. He played a great knock."

The teams meet again on Tuesday at the same venue in the second and final match of the series, which will take place at 9:30am Irish time.