Ireland v UAE, 2nd ODI at ICC Academy Oval
Ireland 301/5 (50 overs; W Porterfield 139, A Balbirnie 102, K O'Brien 24, P Stirling 20; Rohan Mustafa 2-65)
UAE 234/10 (48.4 overs; Rameez Shahzad 50, Muhammad Usman 44, Ashfaq Ahmed 25, Mohammed Naveed 25; K O'Brien 4-41, A McBrine 2-40, B McCarthy 2-49)
Ireland beat UAE by 67 runs
Centuries from William Porterfield and Andrew Balbirnie steered Ireland to a 67-run win over hosts UAE in the second ODI of their tri-series in Dubai.
The pair shared a second wicket stand of 201 in 213 balls, coming together after Paul Stirling went for 20 in an opening stand of 44 with Porterfield after Ireland elected to bat after winning the toss.
The partnership is Ireland’s second highest in ODI’s, bettered only by the 227 by Porterfield and Kevin O’Brien against Kenya in 2007.
Irish skipper Porterfield recorded his highest ODI score, striking 15 fours and clearing the ropes twice in his 139 from 147 balls – his 10th ODI century and his 17th in all formats.
Balbirnie also went on to record his maiden ODI hundred, hitting 12 fours and one maximum in 102 from 109 deliveries. It was the first time since that aforementioned Kenya match in 2007 that two Irish players have scored centuries in the same ODI.
Kevin O’Brien kept the momentum going after their dismissals, clubbing a breezy 24 to get Ireland up to a formidable total of 301 for 5.
He then shared the new ball duties with Barry McCarthy in the absence of Boyd Rankin, rested for the match along with centurion from the first match, Ed Joyce.
O’Brien claimed four wickets for the fifth time in ODI’s – still searching for that elusive five-wicket haul.
His 4 for 41, coupled with a brace each for the recalled Andy McBrine (2-40) and Barry McCarthy (2-49) meant Ireland were always in the ascendancy.
McBrine claimed the crucial wicket of top scorer Rameez Shahzad (50), ending a dangerous stand of 68 in 70 balls with Muhammad Usman (44) as the hosts threatened briefly at 143 for 3.
O’Brien then ripped through the middle-order to ensure Ireland closed out a 67-run win to seal another victory for new coach Graham Ford.
Andrew Balbirnie was delighted to finally score an ODI hundred after narrowly missing out against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup.
“It's fantastic to get the hundred and share the partnership with Purdy (William Porterfield) as he's so experienced. Getting the ODI hundred is something I've been wanting to achieve especially being put up the order to number three, where there's obviously that bit more responsibility on me to make scores. Whenever you score a hundred for your country it's always a special day.
"It was a very good win for us as we didn't have much preparation going into the series. We have two more games here next week against Scotland then we travel South Africa next month, with it all building towards the World Cup Qualifiers in March.”
Ireland take on Scotland this Tuesday at the same venue in the third match of the tri-series.